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India today justified its abstention from voting on the US-sponsored resolution against Sri Lanka at the UNHRC, saying the decision was driven by welfare of Tamils in that country.
Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh said India's position on the UNHRC resolutions on Sri Lanka has always been consistent with its view that the process of national reconciliation must be expedited in a manner that meets aspirations of the Tamil community for a "life of equality, justice, peace and dignity within a united Sri Lanka".
"We believe that our abstention yesterday is in the best interest of the Tamils in Sri Lanka and will assist us in our efforts to help them," Singh said.
India had abstained from voting on the resolution against Sri Lanka at the UNHRC yesterday which was adopted by 23 votes in favour and sought an international inquiry into alleged war crimes in the last stages of conflict with the LTTE in 2009.
India, along with 11 other countries, abstained from voting while 12 other countries including Russia, China and Pakistan opposed the resolution.
The Foreign Secretary said the decision was also in the interest of the fishermen community in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry.
"You would have seen the announcement by the government of Sri Lanka this morning of their decision to release all Indian fishermen in custody as a goodwill gesture. This is the first step towards a long-term solution to the fishermen's issue," she said.
Asserting that India always attached "highest priority" to the welfare and well-being of Tamils in Sri Lanka, she said the international community needs to work with Sri Lankan government in ensuring justice and progress for Tamils.
"We believe that our decision to abstain on the UNHRC resolution adopted yesterday would strengthen our hand in achieving our objective vis-a-vis the Tamil community of Sri Lanka," she said.