At a time when the Indian political scene is seeing a lot of regionalism and divisive party politics, the UPA government has made an impressive move that deserves appreciation. The UPA decided to abstain from voting against Sri Lanka’s human rights violation issue in the UN, choosing an objective path that would be a big blow for the party’s vote base down South, but very beneficial for the entire nation in the long run. Here are some factors that reiterate this point.
The importance of bilateral relations
Boycotting a nation would definitely be of no help to its neighbors. India’s foreign minister Salman Khurshid repeatedly claims that instead of boycotting Sri Lanka, India can engage with the latter more to improve bilateral ties, thereby helping Sri Lankan Tamils in the process.
This was evident from Sri Lanka’s decision to release Indian fishermen held in it jails immediately after India’s stand in the UN. This success in bilateral ties is necessary to ensure that Sri Lanka does not tilt towards China for support and turn the entire Indian Ocean region into an unstable zone vulnerable to world politics.
India’s choice to not vote against Sri Lanka would also benefit it in the international arena. Compared to Sri Lanka, India is more global in nature and so does not gain much profit in following the international policies followed by the latter.
The cold war like status of international politics over issues like the Ukrainian and Syrian crisis is also something one needs to consider. By not voting against Sri Lanka, India has averted a possible confrontation with the latter in the event this cold war spreads to the region and polarizes counties against each other.
Rather than resolving issues, India would need to mobilize support for future causes.
What if tomorrow another country uses the UN to accuse India of violating basic human rights in Jammu and Kashmir? India would then need all the support it can get from its South Asian neighbor to quash this claim.
India shares a cordial relationship with Mauritius, which does not share a cordial relationship with Sri Lanka. This makes it necessary for India to act as a diplomatic balance to prevent the entry of extra-regional powers at the slight hint of unrest in the region. Thereby, India would need to make sure the relations with both these countries remain cordial in order to maintain its security in the region.
India’s decision to abstain from voting against Sri Lanka in the UN has gained both widespread appreciation and criticism. While those not in favor of this move accuse the government of being unfair, those who support it do so only after understanding the intricate details of the matter.
Hopefully, the above mentioned reasons would shed light on why India did the right thing by not voting against Sri Lanka in the UN.