Congress top brass brainstorm on CHOGM

Congress top brass on Friday deliberated on India`s proposed participation in the Commonwealth Summit in Sri Lanka.

PTI| Updated: Nov 08, 2013, 19:21 PM IST

New Delhi: Congress top brass on Friday deliberated on India`s proposed participation in the Commonwealth Summit in Sri Lanka and the party said a decision on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh attending the event will be taken taking into account national interest and other factors.

"A decision will be taken keeping in mind the interests of Tamils in Sri Lanka, the overwhelming opinion expressed for and against by the political parties in Tamil Nadu and strategic and national interests of the country, the view of the newly-elected Chief Minister of Tamil-majority province", party spokesman Randip Singh Surjewala told reporters here.

His remarks came after a meeting of the Congress Core Group headed by party president Sonia Gandhi and including the Prime Minister discussed the issue for more than an hour in the backdrop of a debate over whether India should participate in the Summit, scheduled to be held on November 15, in the face of strong resistance from political parties in Tamil Nadu.

Besides, Surjewala said, human rights "violations" in Sri Lanka have been a "matter of serious and grave concern" for Tamils in India.

"To ensure more participatory democracy and devolution of powers to the elected Tamils and ensuring justice and transparency have been the policy of the government of India", he said adding all these factors will be taken into account when the Prime Minister takes a call.

Replying to a question whether foreign policy of the country could be a state-centric, he said, "national interest is paramount. It is above all. The Prime Minister will decide appropriately."

Tamil Nadu Assembly had recently adopted an unanimous resolution demanding a complete boycott of the event alleging that Sri Lanka has indulged in atrocities against ethnic Tamils.

The government is 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.