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PM to attend CHOGM summit? Decision likely today

PTI | Last Updated: Thursday, November 7, 2013 - 08:02

New Delhi: A decision on the participation of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Sri Lanka is likely to be taken on Thursday.

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 matter was discussed in Congress core group meeting last week and is again likely to figure today in the Cabinet meeting where a final call may be taken.

However, Congress has already said the decision on whether to participate in CHOGM was left to the Prime Minister.

The party`s response came in the backdrop of growing voices within the Cabinet against Singh visiting Sri Lanka with two more ministers - Minister of State in the PMO V Narayanasamy and Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan - openly opposing his proposed visit, joining their Cabinet colleague GK Vasan.

However, at the same time, another Congress leader from Tamil Nadu S Natchiappan, who is Minister of State for Commerce, has been striking a different note. He said Singh should visit Sri Lanka for the welfare of Lankan Tamils.

Asked whether the decision on Singh`s participation in CHOGM was taken, the spokesperson in the External Affairs Ministry said the process was fairly in advance stage.

"And all issues relating to that are available for decision making. We hope to have early outcome...," he said.

The MEA has been favouring Singh`s visit to Sri Lanka for CHOGM, maintaining that it was vital for him to be present at this meet as it will reflect India`s interests and is also paramount to the nation`s strategic and security interests.

The officials are also keen that the Prime Minister takes the opportunity to visit Northern Province where India has given lot of assistance.

Chief Minister of Northern Provincial Council CV Vigneswaran has already written to Singh, inviting him to Jaffna and expressed his gratitude for Indian assistance.

First Published: Thursday, November 7, 2013 - 08:02
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