By Rezaul H Laskar
New Delhi, March 13 (Hindustan Times): Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on Saturday discussed cooperation at multilateral forums, days ahead of an expected vote on Sri Lanka’s human rights record at the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC).
Modi and Rajapaksa “reviewed topical developments and the ongoing cooperation between both countries in bilateral and multilateral forums”, the external affairs ministry said in a readout on the phone call between the two leaders. It didn’t give further details.
The leaders “agreed to maintain regular contact between relevant officials, including in the context of the continuing Covid-19 challenges”.
Modi also reiterated Sri Lanka’s importance to India’s “Neighbourhood First” policy.
The UNHRC is expected to vote on March 19 on a resolution critical of Sri Lanka’s failure to address human rights violations that occurred during the island nation’s war with Tamil Tiger rebels. India has not yet indicated whether it will back Sri Lanka in the crucial vote.
The resolution was framed by a group of countries, including the UK and Germany, in response to a report released by the office of the UN high commissioner for human rights in January.