Zee Media Bureau
New Delhi: External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said on Tuesday that it was a considered decision of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh not to attend Commonwealth Heads of Government Summit (CHOGM) summit in Sri Lanka. He said that it was made keeping in mind various sentiments.
"The position we`ve taken is not a boycott if I`m going. The Prime Minister has taken a considered call. As you can see, he`s factored in a lot of issues including the importance of his presence in the country at this point of time. We are, after all, facing five elections," Khurshid said.
"There were also very strong sentiments expressed by our colleagues in parliament from Tamil Nadu. As indeed, there was a sentiment expressed by that State`s assembly. I think everything must have been factored in and after that a decision was taken," Khurshid told reporters at a press conference after the conclusion of the two-day Asia-Europe Foreign Ministers (ASEM) meeting.
Political parties in Tamil Nadu and several other outfits have been opposed to India`s participation at any level in the CHOGM meet. They have levelled allegations of human rights violations against the Sri Lankan government. Also, they maintained that the government had no plans to devolve powers to the ethnic Tamils.
Finally, on November 10, Manmohan Singh wrote to Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa and conveyed him that he would not be attending the CHOGM summit being held in the island nation on November 15-16. The letter was delivered to the Sri Lankan President by the Indian High Commission in Colombo.
As per reports, the letter did not talk about the reasons for Singh skipping the meet. However, Khurshid maintained that the decision of the PM would not affect the Indian-Sri Lanka relations. It was decided that Khurshid would be attending the meet instead of Manmohan Singh.
With PTI inputs