India registers diplomatic win: EU parliament defers voting on CAA
In what qualifies as a major diplomatic win for India, the European Union Parliament chose to not vote on a resolution against the contentious Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), for now. On Wednesday, a debate on CAA happened, but the voting was delayed till March. Had the parliament voted against the law, it would have damaged India's, and more prominently Prime Minister Narendra Modi's global reputation.
A law meant to help persecuted minorities sparked anger
PM Modi's government passed CAA, promoted it as the law which is based on India's compassionate history but invited criticism nevertheless. People in Northeast said it will open floodgates for Bangladeshi immigrants, while others said BJP shouldn't have specifically left out Muslims. According to the law, non-Muslims from Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, will be preferred while applying for Indian citizenship.
The resolution was moved by five different groups
The widespread protests across India, naturally, caught global attention, with some media outlets saying PM Modi was suppressing India's democratic and secular fabric. And the EU Parliament, which is the legislative wing of the EU, also moved a resolution against CAA. Five groups, ranging from center-right to far-left, were part of the resolution. Out of the 751 members, nearly 560 were involved.
A look at members who supported India's stand
When the resolution was brought for voting, 483 (Members of Parliament) were present. Of them, 271 said to delay the voting on the resolution, 199 didn't want to postpone it, while 13 didn't vote altogether. Among those who favored dismissing the resolution were the Identity and Democracy (ID) Group, whose members paid a visit to Kashmir last year, sparking another controversy.
Debate, but postpone visit: Largest group on resolution
Members of the far-right group said the resolution's timing is inappropriate since India's Supreme Court is hearing petitions against CAA. However, the largest group, the European People's Party (EPP) said the debate should go on as scheduled, but the voting postponed to March. A member of EPP said it was better to wait as SC was already in the picture, and it could give clarity.
"Friends of India won over Friends of Pakistan"
India has now bought time, that will be dedicated to improving diplomatic ties. About the development, a source told NDTV, "Friends of India prevailed over friends of Pakistan in the European Parliament today. Strenuous efforts of outgoing British member Shaffaq Mohammad to have a resolution passed by the European Parliament against India on the penultimate day before Brexit has been defeated."
After resolution was moved, Om Birla wrote letter
The Indian government has maintained that CAA is an entirely internal matter, and had slammed the EU Parliament's decision to move a resolution. Lok Sabha speaker Om Birla shot off a letter to European Parliament David Maria Sassoli saying, "As members of Inter-Parliamentary Union, we should respect sovereign processes of fellow legislatures, especially in democracies." India expects EU to understand its stand.
S Jaishankar will visit Brussels next month
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar will visit Brussels on February 17. There, he will participate in a key meeting with EU Foreign Affairs Council (FAC) to discuss varied issues including CAA. The FAC plays an important role in framing foreign affairs decisions of the EU. Apart from CAA, topics like technology transfer, FDI, migration and security partnership could be discussed as well.