2ND LEAD

Obama: India cannot ignore abusive states

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 09 November 2010, 02:24 GMT]
US President Barack Obama Monday criticised India for shying away from condemning rights abuses in repressive states, saying democracies with global aspirations should not remain silent and ignore "gross violations" in other countries. "If I can be frank, in international fora, India has often shied away from these issues," Mr. Obama said. “Speaking up for those who cannot do so for themselves is not interfering in the affairs of other countries. It is not violating the rights of sovereign nations, it is staying true to our democratic principles." However, Obama was citing only the example of Indian outlook for Burma, but overlooked the crucial example of India's collaboration with the abusive state of Sri Lanka.

Barack Obama
Barack Obama
"When peaceful democratic movements are suppressed, as they have been in Burma (Myanmar), then the democracies of the world cannot remain silent," Mr. Obama said in an address to the Indian Parliament.

"Faced with such gross violations of human rights, it is the responsibility of the international community, especially leaders like the United States and India, to condemn it," he said.

"If I can be frank, in international fora, India has often shied away from these issues," AFP quoted Mr. Obama as saying.

India has maintained ties with the Myanmar junta as security, energy and strategic priorities as China stepped up its activities there. India in July hosted Myanmar's military leader Than Shwe for a state visit.

Though Mr. Obama earlier endorsed India's quest for a permanent seat on the UN Security Council, the US president also underlined that a place at the top organ of the world body would require New Delhi to stand up for the promotion of democracy.

"With increased power comes increased responsibility," he said, adding that he looked forward to working with India, "and other nations that aspire to Security Council membership" to ensure that Security Council resolutions are implemented and sanctions enforced.

In an apparent reference to India's stated policy that it does not want to interfere in the affairs of any other country, Mr. Obama said, "Speaking up for those who cannot do so for themselves is not interfering in the affairs of other countries. It is not violating the rights of sovereign nations, it is staying true to our democratic principles."


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