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Who is responsible for India’s decision to abstain?

| by Rajasingham Jayadevan

( March 29, 2014, London, Sri Lanka Guardian) The Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram publicly opined that India should have voted in favour of the U.S.-sponsored resolution. A Cabinet Minister holding a senior position did not know until India voted at the UNHRC session the final stand of the government at the UNHCR.

In a constitutional democracy, elected Cabinet of ministers collectively make decisions or to that matter any proposals of the ministries will be brought to the attention of the Cabinet to maintain collective responsibility.

To a query, Mr. Chidambaram told reporters at the Chennai Airport that India should have supported the resolution which was finally passed by the UNHRC in a 23-12 vote. “It is my personal opinion. Twenty three countries had supported it and we also should have supported even if it was a watered down version,” he remarked. The decision could have been taken by the External Affairs Ministry officials, he said, adding, that there was no consensus among political parties in Tamil Nadu over the issue.

Such a crucial decision bypassing the Cabinet and left in the hands of the External Affairs Ministry Official must have far reaching credibility concerns for a elected government. It clearly confirms Indian establishment is much more powerful than the elected cabinet governance or a reflection of North-South divide when the senior minister Mr M Chidambaram from Southern India was sidestepped aside in the Cabinet decision making.

India’s silence until voting at UNHRC confirm lack of transparency in the decision making on such a crucial issue and both the Prime Minister and the External Affairs ministers so far have not expressed their views despite making strong statements against Sri Lanka until recently.

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