India raised worry on Monday about the Sri Lankan government’s lack of verifiable progress on its commitments to find a political solution to the island nation’s ethnic conflict affecting the Tamil minority.

Indra Mani Pandey, India’s permanent representative to the UN in Geneva, said the current crisis in Sri Lanka had demonstrated the limitations of a debt-driven economy and the impact it has on the standard of living while outlining India’s position in an interactive dialogue on the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights’ latest report on Sri Lanka.

According to people familiar with the situation, India’s stance on the subject is stronger than in the past. This comes amid strained relations between India and Sri Lanka as a result of a Chinese surveillance vessel’s visit to the Chinese-controlled port of Hambantota.

Pandey expressed the Indian side’s concern about the lack of measurable progress by the Government of Sri Lanka on their commitment to a political solution to the ethnic issue, noting that India has always believed in the responsibility of countries to promote and protect human rights, as well as constructive international dialogue and cooperation guided by the principles of the UN Charter.

A political solution would require complete implementation of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, devolution of powers to Provincial Councils, and holding Provincial Council elections as soon as possible, according to Pandey. In recent years, India has raised with the Sri Lankan government the topic of enacting the 13th Amendment to the Sri Lankan Constitution and holding elections to provincial councils to offer the Tamil minority greater autonomy.

Constitutional Amendment

The Sri Lankan government has refrained from committing to complete execution of the constitutional Amendment, stating that it will not go against the preferences of the Sinhala majority while working for a solution in Tamil-populated areas. India’s constant perspective on peace and reconciliation in Sri Lanka has been for a political settlement within the framework of a united Sri Lanka, assuring justice, peace, equality, and dignity for the Tamils of Sri Lanka, Pandey added.

He stated that the current crisis in Sri Lanka has demonstrated the limitations of the debt-driven economy and that it is in Sri Lanka’s best interests to improve the ability of its inhabitants and strive toward their empowerment, which requires devolution of authority to the grassroots level. In this context, he stated that the early election of provincial councils would allow the inhabitants of Sri Lanka to accomplish their ambitions for a flourishing future.

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