Thursday, October 4

Try taking a step forward

India imposed watered down language but voted today for the UN Security Council resolution on Burma. India's sidling approach reminds me of the Spartan soldier's complaint that his sword was too short. His mother's famous reply is shown in the title of this post.

From Times of India:
NEW DELHI: Moving further away from its "pragmatic" approach on Myanmar, India on Thursday voted in the UN Human Rights Council for the release of Aung San Suu Kyi.

Although it was patently uncomfortable with the "tone", India nevertheless went along with the resolution that called for democratisation and dialogue in the embattled country next door. India, however, forced a modification of the original document which was much more strident.

India's senior diplomat at the UNHRC Swashpawan Singh said, "The government of India believes that the release of Aung San Suu Kyi would be helpful in terms of the process of democratisation and that she can contribute to the emergence of Myanmar as a democratic country."

But in an explanation, India said "we regret that the text of the resolution adopted is not fully in conformity" with India's stance for "forward-looking, non-condemnatory" approach.

Describing Myanmar as a "close and friendly neighbour" with whom India shares "links of geography, culture, history and religion", Singh noted that recent developments in that country were a "matter of concern" for New Delhi.

He told the human rights body about India's readiness to work with "like-minded countries towards an outcome which is forward-looking, non-discriminatory and seeks to engage the authorities in Myanmar in a constructive manner to facilitate a peaceful outcome".

However, underscoring its hesitation in taking steps which might be construed as interference, India complained about the "tone" of the resolution. Singh said the "unhelpful tone does not contribute to effectively pursuing the objective of engaging constructively with the authorities in Myanmar which is essential to make a difference to the situation on the ground".

"Despite these concerns, my delegation has joined the consensus with the hope that the council's further engagement on the issue will be undertaken in a more positive manner," he said.

The resolution said it "strongly deplores the continued violent repression of peaceful demonstrations in Myanmar, including through beatings, killings, arbitrary detentions and enforced disappearances".

The resolution asked the government of Myanmar to engage urgently in a "reinvigorated national dialogue with all parties with a view to achieving genuine national reconciliation, democratisation and the establishment of rule of law".

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