Following an open threat from the DMK chief M Karunanidhi to snap ties, the Congress-led UPA government scrambled on Sunday to find a via-media to walk the tight diplomatic rope keeping both the Colombo as well as its southern ally in good humour. In a letter to both the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, DMK patriarch said he felt "let down" by the government on the issue.
Sources here say the government was working out a way out, to support the US backed resolution at the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) asking for a “credible, independent and a time bound probe against war crimes”. The government, however, is hesitant calling for a “foreign” led probe. The Tamil parties are vociferously demanding an internationally led time-bound probe against killing of Tamils in Northern Sri Lanka. The draft resolution set to be moved in the UNHRC in Geneva is asking for setting up of a tribunal to inquire into the allegations, which appears to be a compromise arrived between Colombo
It seems that DMK’s latest threat to walk out has worked out, forcing the government to open its cards, it had so far kept close to its chest. Government sources say, the fears of southern parties were unfounded, as India has remained consistent on an independent probe that they want as also is active on seeking empowerment of Tamils in the island country. “We have played an active part in rehabilitation as well as convincing Colombo to announce provincial elections in the Northern province to allow great political say to Tamil population,” said the officials, denying that India has remained a fence sitter.
Karunanidhi had also warned to pull out his ministers from the union cabinet, despite Finance Minister P Chidambaram hinting at a possible vote against Sri Lanka. "I'm confident that if phrases in the UN resolution sought credible independent international probe, India would support it," Chidambaram said. The minister also sought to assure students who are gearing up for massive protests from Monday across Tamil Nadu, demanding affirmative action against Colombo at the UN session. "I'm feeding you my confidence and you feed this confidence to our students," he said.
With 18 MPs, Karunanidhi's party is the second biggest constituent of the Congress-led UPA, providing crucial support to a government. Though, the DMK pull out may not result in any immediate threat to the government, but with the West Bengal Trinamul Congress (TMC) already out, the Manmohan Singh government fate would completely hinge on the
two fledgling external allies the Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP).
Official sources here said the India’s stand at the UNHRC would remain unchanged, asking Sri Lanka to investigate the allegations of human rights violations and loss of civilian lives will by instituting an independent and credible system and also accentuate process of resolution of the residual issues.
Privately officials here say, India cannot walk too far, apprehending heightened Chinese activities in its southern neighbourhood. They say so far Sri Lanka has maintained a fine balance between two major neighbours despite temptations. “Therefore, an all-out tirade against Colombo as demanded by the Tamil parties would be detrimental to India’s long term strategic interests,” they said.
Meanwhile, the Communist Party of India (CPI) has expressed serious concern at the ambiguous stand of the government. In a statement issued here on Sunday, ithe party has asked for appropriate amendments to the proposed resolution.