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India has pledged Sri Lanka will not be wronged at UNHRC: foreign secy

ECONOMYNEXT – India has pledged to ensure that Sri Lanka will not be wronged in any way at the ongoing United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) sessions, Foreign Ministry Secretary Admiral Prof Jayanath Colombage said.

Speaking at a cyber conference titled Development Dialogue for New Media yesterday, as shown by the privately owned NewsFirst, Colombage said the Gotabaya Rajapaksa administration is hopeful that India will come to Sri Lanka’s aid, given the close relations maintained by the two nations as well as India’s ‘neighbourhood first’ policy.

The UNHRC’s latest Sri Lanka resolution is to be taken up for vote next week (22) and India is widely expected to abstain. Commenting on the Modi government’s silence on the matter, Colambage speculated that domestic politics might be the reason.

“There are elections due in Tamil Nadu on April 9. That might be a contributing factor to India’s silence. I think they too are in a difficult position. However, we have been promised that India will not allow Sri Lanka to be wronged in any way,” he said.

The Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) government, since it came into power, the admiral said, afforded a special place to India in its foreign relations, particularly with regard to strategic interests.

“We pledged that we will not become the aircraft carrier in the Indian Ocean. We work very closely together and India has its own ‘neighbhourhood first’ policy. Under these circumstances, we’re hopeful India will help us,” he said.

Colambage was referring to a remark attributed to India’s one-time National Security advisor Shiv Shankar Menon who, according to President’s Media Director General Mohan Samaranayake, once alluded to Sri Lanka as a permanent aircraft carrier in the Indian Ocean.

Samaranayake, who was conducting the dialogue with Colambage at yesterday’s conference, said it is the wish of certain foreign powers to bring this so called aircraft carrier under their control.

“This is why human rights are being used as a weapon,” he said. (Colombo/Mar18/2021)

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