There is a divide within the Congress and the government over Prime Minister Manmohan Singh attending the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting on November 15 in Sri Lanka. Sources say that Finance Minister P Chidambaram as a Tamil MP feels that the government must factor in state interests. Shipping Minister GK Vasan has also met the Prime Minister asking him to cancel his visit. But sources say that the External Affairs Ministry thinks that it will send out a wrong diplomatic message.
Sources say that one proposal is that PM scales down the level of his visit to Colombo. The DMK and the AIADMK have alsp opposed PM’s Lanka visit.
DMK chief Karunanidhi has warned the UPA government of consequences if Manmohan Singh goes to Colombo. “If the Prime Minister attends the Commonwealth meeting in Colombo then the parties which are in favour of it might have to face the consequences,” Karunanidhi said.
This came amidst reports that despite opposition from the Tamil Nadu Assembly, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is likely to go to Colombo, according to sources. Sources say that an advance security team has completed its Colombo recce. Sources say that the Prime Minister is likely to go to Colombo for a few hours to attend the inauguration of the summit. Hotel bookings and other travel arrangements have also been made, according to sources.
However, a final decision on the Prime Minister’s visit will be taken after the Cabinet gives its approval or disapproval. Earlier this month, the Tamil Nadu Assembly had passed a resolution unanimously urging the Centre to boycott the CHOGM in Colombo. The resolution was moved by Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa.
“The Prime Minister’s statement that he will participate in CHOGM meet is a huge disappointment,” she said. All political parties in Tamil Nadu including the Congress are demanding that India should boycott the meeting in protest against what they call genocide of Tamils in Sri Lanka.
They are also urging the PM to visit Tamil areas in the north and east of Sri Lanka. The 23rd Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) will be held in Colombo, Sri Lanka, from 15 to 17 November 2013.
However, Sri Lankan High Commissioner Prasad Kariyawasam said that India will be isolated if Prime Minister Manmohan Singh doesn’t attend the summit.
Pressure is also coming from the CM of the Northern Province who has written to Manmohan Singh urging him to visit. In his letter CM Wigneswaran thanked the PM for “persuading” the Sri Lankan government to hold elections under the 13th amendment. India has been pushing the Lankan government to implement the amendment. The CM also invited Manmohan Singh to visit Jaffna at the earliest. (IBN Live )