M A I N   N E W S

India undecided on PM’s participation in CHOGM
Ashok Tuteja/TNS

New Delhi, October 11
India is in a dilemma on whether Prime Minister Manmohan Singh should attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meet (CHOGM) in Colombo next month, given the vehement opposition to his participation from political parties in Tamil Nadu.

External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid, who recently visited Colombo, is learnt to have told his Sri Lankan interlocutors that India was seized of the issue and would soon take a final decision on the matter, sources said here today.

However, Khurshid confirmed that he himself would take part in the CHOGM Foreign Ministers’ meet to be held ahead of the summit.

He also is understood to have told the Lankan leadership that while deciding on the PM’s participation, India would take into account the steps taken by Colombo as regards implementation of the 13th Amendment of the Constitution aimed at giving autonomy to provinces.

He firmly made it clear that India was opposed to any dilution of the 13th Amendment as that would mean Sri Lanka going back on its commitment to give Tamil minorities their due in the Lankan society.

While the PM is personally said to be in favour of participating in the summit, a decision is expected to be taken keeping in view domestic political compulsions in this election season. The DMK and the AIADMK have strongly demanded that the PM should boycott the summit to register India’s protest over the “atrocities” committed on the Tamil minorities in the island nation.

With the Lok Sabha elections round the corner, the Congress will obviously be looking for an alliance partners in Tamil Nadu and will not like to annoy any of its potential allies on the Lankan issue.

Officials in the South Block, however, are of the view that the PM must attend the summit as his non-participation would send a wrong message not only to Colombo, but also to other neighbours, especially at a time when India’s relations with them are far from satisfactory. Sri Lanka has repeatedly urged India to take part in the summit.

The dilemma

  • The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meet (CHOGM) is scheduled to be held in Colombo next month
  • India is in dilemma on whether Prime Minister Manmohan Singh should attend it or not
  • The PM is said to be in favour of participating in the summit, but political compulsions may not permit it
  • The DMK and the AIADMK are against it over “atrocities” on Tamil minorities





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