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PM unlikely to attend CHOGM in Sri Lanka

By A correspondent in New Delhi
November 08, 2013 21:19 IST
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In the wake of stiff opposition, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is unlikely to attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Sri Lanka.

High level Congress sources have told that the party has insisted that Dr Singh should skip the meeting which is scheduled to begin on November 10 in Colombo.

The party decision will be communicated to the Cabinet Committee on Political Affairs which will meet on Saturday. A final announcement is expected after the meeting.

Earlier in the day, a meeting of the Congress core group headed by party president Sonia Gandhi deliberated over the issue for more than one hour where the stand was formulated.

Political parties and various groups in Tamil Nadu are strongly opposed to India's participation in the summit and the Tamil Nadu assembly recently adopted a resolution demanding a complete boycott of the event alleging that Sri Lanka has indulged in atrocities against ethnic Tamils. The government was in a dilemma over the issue with some sections feeling that the prime minister's absence at the CHOGM could affect India's image internationally and hence he must participate.

The issue was discussed last month also by the core group and Union Ministers P Chidambaram and A K Antony are learnt to have suggested that the PM should not visit Colombo to attend the meet.

The Congress has so far refused to publically take a stand on the politically-sensitive issue. The party has said it will back whatever decision the prime minister takes on India's participation in the summit keeping in mind national interests. Union ministers V Narayanasamy, Jayanthi Natarajan and G K Vasan have publicly opposed the prime minister's participation in the summit.



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A correspondent in New Delhi