MR, Singh to meet before D-day!

Thursday, 27 February 2014 01:37 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

New Delhi: India’s Prime Min-ister Manmohan Singh will meet Sri Lankan Presid-ent Mahinda Rajapaksa on the sidelines of the BIMSTEC Summit in Myanmar early next month. India’s Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh said at a media briefing the Prime Minister will attend the 3rd BIMSTEC Summit on 4th March and the he will hold talks with Sri Lankan President on the sidelines of the Summit next week. The Indian Premier will be meeting the Sri Lankan leader for the first time after skipping last year’s Commonwealth Heads of Gov-ernment Meeting held in Colombo in November after bowing to the pressure from the Tamil Nadu political leaders. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh leaves for Mya-nmar on Monday to attend the BIMSTEC Summit. The Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Coop-eration (BIMSTEC) is an international organization involving Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Bhutan and Nepal. The seven-country forum aims to achieve its own free trade area by 2017. Responding to a media query on how India will vote on the third US-sponsored Resolution at the UN Human Rights Council calling for an international inquiry into Sri Lanka’s war crime allegations, the Foreign Secretary said it is a “very complex process” and they have to wait and see how the resolution is drawn up. “We have to see the text of the resolution, we have to take several other factors into account and then will finally vote,” the Foreign Secretary said. India has voted against Sri Lanka on the two previous resolutions tabled by the US and adopted by the UNHRC in Geneva in 2011 and 2012. As regional elections are approaching this year, the central government of India is under extreme pressure from the Tami Nadu political leadership to vote for the third resolution against Sri Lanka within two years and it is highly unlikely for India to support Sri Lanka at the UN. Sri Lanka has consistently rejected an international investigation into the war crime allegations and human rights violations as an intrusion into the country’s sovereign affairs. On Monday, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navy Pillay releasing her report on Sri Lanka called for establishing an “independent, international inquiry mechanism” as the government has failed to ensure independent and credible investigations into past violations of international human rights and humanitarian law. The government categorically rejected the call saying that conclusions and recommendations contained in her report reflect bias and are tantamount to unwanted interference in the internal affairs of a sovereign State. The government has launched a diplomatic operation aiming to counter the international pressure that is being exerted on the country ahead of the UNHRC session. Russia and China have declared their strong support to Sri Lanka against the US-sponsored resolution and opposed an international investigation into the allegations of war crimes committed during the war saying human rights should not be used as a pretext for interference in internal affairs.