The Sunday Leader

Geneva Resolution: The fallout from US, India and China

The approval of the American-European sponsored resolution against Sri Lanka in Geneva last week is likely to have a  fallout on the geopolitics of the region if not sooner, later. The United States, India and China have all been involved in the debate of the resolution in Geneva but an immediate impact could result only if Sri Lanka acts in a pique. The big powers are unlikely to be involved in a major confrontation on  so small an issue—  Sri Lanka being too small and weak a power whose acts  can cause little concern.
The American explanation for moving the resolution is that after three years of pressurising  Sri Lanka to act on requests for investigation of its armed forces for alleged violation of human rights, it had failed to do so and even after Sri Lanka’s own LLRC report made such specific recommendations. The question now is how Sri Lanka will act in implementing this resolution. It is a non binding resolution which implies that there is no legal compulsion for Sri Lanka to act. But the determined moves by America and European powers in getting this resolution approved at the UNHRC indicate that the Rajapakse government can no longer go on dilly dallying in addressing the issue of investigations as demanded.

Dilution of resolution
The section of the original resolution that called for the office of the UNHRC and its officials to make recommendations and offer technical advice for the implementation of the recommendations called for and for the Sri Lankan government to accept these resolutions was subsequently changed on the request of the Indian Government for the recommendations and technical advice to be provided in consultation and in concurrence with the Sri Lankan government. This removed the element of compulsion for Sri Lanka  to be dictated to by the UNHRC in the implementation of the recommendations.
No government would concede that it is abiding by the dictates of foreign powers, international bodies or even UN organisations. Even the dictates of the IMF euphemistically called ‘recommendations’ are followed by countries lest the flow of financial assistance is discontinued. Will the Rajapakse camouflage its attempt to indicate that whatever action it takes will be acts of its own volition?

American interests
The United States will not be much concerned about their investments here with the Sri Lankan private sector falling over one another to woo investors. Even the Sri Lanka government will welcome American assistance despite Wimal Weerawansa and threats of starving himself to death. They will no doubt be interested in China’s naval manoeuvres in the region of this strategically placed island. The protection of maritime routes for trade and oil are of concern to all nations.
Chinese entry into development projects in Sri Lanka has been welcomed with open arms but will there be less enthusiasm for Chinese infrastructure development after problems with the million dollar coal fired power generator at Norochcholai and the discovery of a huge rock at the entrance to the Chinese constructed harbour at Hambantota?

Indo-Lanka relations
Even of greater interest will be the fall out on Indo-Sri Lanka relations. India’s solution to Tamil grievances has been the enactment of the 13th Amendment which saw  the entry .into the Constitution soon after the landing of Indian Peace Keeping troops here. It cost the Indians the loss of life of over 2000 of its soldiers and even the life of Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. Will Rajapakse not implement the promises made on the 13th Amendment even after the Geneva resolution?
What of India’s proposals of police powers to the northern and eastern provinces and powers of land distribution to the two provincial councils?
There are problems of fishing rights for fishermen of both countries in the Palk straits but even a greater issue could emerge on the allocation of oil exploration blocks  in this strip of sea.  An Indian company has already been granted rights to drill for oil in one section and  reports indicate positive signs for oil and gas. China too has made its application for oil exploration in the region which is very close to Indian  maritime borders. This could indeed develop into a very explosive issue unless handled properly. However both India and China are responsible regional powers and it is quite unlikely that they will end in a confrontation over minor resources in Sri Lanka.

Implications for Lanka
The Geneva resolution has deep implications for the Rajapakse government. The call to respect human rights and implement the recommendations of its own LLRC report would demand drastic changes in the style of governance hitherto deployed, particularly in the last three years. India’s recommendations on alleviating Tamil grievances are even more challenging. Will President Rajapakse keep juggling the ball and more important will India let him do it. Even if the Congress government looks away from these issues as it did for three years, it is no longer possible with Tamil Nadu politicians breathing down the neck of Congress and Congress has to depend for survival on the support of 17 DMK MPs. The Indian General election is just two years away.

11 Comments for “Geneva Resolution: The fallout from US, India and China”

  1. Anjula Perera

    I kept the bit on ‘Implications for Lanka’ preserved to use as toilt paper next time.
    Keep licking American Boots.

    Hope Hon Dr Mervyn Perera lives up to his word.

    A. Perera

    • Sarath

      Is it so bad in SL that you need to use this sort of paper to wipe your back !!!! I will pray for you Akki

  2. Trevor Jayetileke

    Dear Mr. GW you are the at your best todaybut if you had deciphered the result of the Geneva Resolution closely you will find that Russia also had voted against this resolution by the USA. India is not a World Power as yet. Our President could juggle the balls the way he likes and India is not in the Big Picture of the Superpowers we have to deal with. President MR has 40 years of experience in the Political arena and whether it be Resolutions by the West or Juggling balls in the Indian Ocean he will handle them with better acumen than most others in the World Political today. The new ‘Great Game’ will be played out in the Indian Ocean which I would call the ‘Grand Piano of the Orient’
    Good times are ahead for Sri Lanka and MR will conduct the Asian Symphony of the 21st Century which as the Good Book says the’ Best has been left for the Last’. In my opinion this Resolution should be seen in the context as a signal by the USA to Sri Lanka to get moving than resting on our laurels and miss the last bus.

    • Julia

      May be the whole of the Sri Lankan government should be given Noble Prizes for service to Humanity !!!

    • Sompala

      Our President can paly all his games with the team made of Basil, Mervyn etc. in Sri Lanka.
      Unforttunately he canot play it in the international game.

  3. M.V.R.Perera

    we have yet to hear what the Tamil grievances are which other Sri Lankans do not have

    • Sarath

      “When Indian Foreign Minister Krishna visited Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa had said he was prepared to give 13 plus—this was stated by Krishna himself. However, after Krishna went back the President said he did not say such a thing. The people were confused as to whom to believe” -Daily Mirror of today

      Your President has said this so you should know that there are “grievences” unless you are much smarter that your President

    • MAH

      Indeed MVR Perera. Also I think that we have yet to hear what the Sri Lankan Tamil grievences truely are. The loudest voices so far have been the diaspora and the TNA, who are both so closely intertwined with each others existence that the average Tamil is probably not being represented. I agree fully with however when you say that other Sri Lankans are facing similar hardships.

  4. Sonia

    But when the US and India helped to destroy the LTTE , what did you do with that piece of paper !!! May be keeep to use it when you have diahorrea !!!

  5. Sarath


    I would like to get the views of self proclaimed terrorism expert Rohan Aiya Gunaratna’s views on all these !! Surely he knows everything

  6. Trevor Jayetileke

    The whole problem in Sri Lanka is that without its own crude oil it has no self-reliant economic base.
    Without a self-reliant economic base it cannot generate enough revenue to bridge the Budget as paying taxes is not easy for the public servants and the poor whether it be direct or indirect taxes.
    Our poor mothers and young girls have to work their guts out as housemaids in foreign lands to earn FOREX for the Government to pay for Sri Lanka’s unsatiable thirst for petroleum products.
    Without Oil of our own we have got used to be financially frugal and this our weak spot as a free socialist democratic and a unaligned nation and the only Macroeconomic solution is to find our own crude oil without further delay so that we can be truly independent and have a voice in this strange world that we live in.
    If I could make a difference which I know I can why don’t the Country invite me before things get any worse. Is a man not worthy in his own land?
    Is there anyone listening? All they here today is Chinese Whispers.

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