Could China lose from India's abstinence?

India decided today to abstain from voting for the US-backed resolution relating to Sri Lanka at the 25th session of the UNHRC in Geneva . The resolution demanded an independent international investigation against the alleged war crimes and human rights excesses in Sri Lanka. India gave several reasons for rejecting the resolution, despite having voted in favor of resolutions in 2009, 2012 and 2013. India claims the resolution imposes an 'intrusive approach' of international investigative mechanism which was counterproductive apart from being 'inconsistent and impractical'.

By not voting against Sri Lanka, India gains some mileage with Sri Lanka. Clearly, this has been reflected in the Sri Lankan media. China, which has been heavily investing in Sri Lanka for things such as the maritime silk road, rejected the resolution outright. With the Congress-UPA alliance projected to gain very little in Tamil Nadu during the forthcoming elections, it had little to gain from voting for the resolution. On the other hand, it gains in potentially better relations with Sri Lanka. We suspect all of the Tamil Nadu parties, including the DMK which walked away from the UPA alliance over Sri Lanka, will voice their criticism over the abstinence. We suspect the BJP will gain little momentum from this abstinence, considering its own stance on a 'Tamil Eelam State' within Sri Lanka. However, this being an election year, they will likely criticize the move in Geneva.

Perhaps the biggest gain for the Congress-UPA alliance in the forthcoming elections will be what voters outside of Tamil Nadu think of the abstinence and whether the upward trajectory of China-Sri Lankan relations dampens in favor of India. Finally, whether the rise of Sino-Sri Lankan relations is a concern for the voter has yet to be seen.

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