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Updated: November 11, 2013 09:49 IST

Manmohan to call up Rajapaksa

  • Sandeep Dikshit
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File photo shows Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse ahead of delegation-level talks at Hyderabad House in New Delhi. Photo: V.V.Krishnan
The Hindu
File photo shows Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse ahead of delegation-level talks at Hyderabad House in New Delhi. Photo: V.V.Krishnan

His letter expresses inability to attend CHOGM

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will telephonically speak to Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa on Monday as a follow-up to his letter expressing his inability to attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Colombo from November 15.

The conversation will help to keep the Prime Minister’s channels of communication open with Colombo after the brief letter, sent on Sunday, in which he told Mr. Rajapaksa that he would not be able to attend CHOGM for “various reasons,” without detailing them.

“The letter was delivered by the High Commission of India in Colombo. The Prime Minister informs that he is unable to attend personally. External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid will represent him at the meeting. [The] Diplomatic process completed,” said Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin.

The immediate after-effect of the Prime Minister opting out of CHOGM would be on ensuring humane treatment to Indian fishermen whenever they were arrested or chased by Sri Lankan security forces for crossing the international maritime boundary line, said a senior MEA official. Diplomatic efforts this year led to the release of 300 Indian fishermen from Sri Lankan custody, while 60 others still remain imprisoned.

“Tamil Nadu has been calling for the release of fishermen. Now we won’t get a sympathetic ear. Our leverage in several other areas will also go down and take a lot of time and effort to repair,” said the official.

“Unfortunately unique”

“Never has a Prime Minister not participated in an international summit meeting, not because of any action by the host country against India but on account of sentiments against it in a particular region of India. This is truly and unfortunately unique and its probable adverse impact on India’s overall interests will be far-reaching,” said commentator and former diplomat Vivek Katju.

Out of 11 CHOGM sessions in the past 20 years, this would be the sixth in which India is unrepresented by the Prime Minister. And since 1993, it will be the third CHOGM, after Auckland in 1995 (Pranab Mukherjee) and Coolum in 2002 (Jaswant Singh), where the External Affairs Minister led the Indian delegation.

However, Mr. Khurshid, who will now head the Indian delegation, did not visualise any adverse fallout from the Prime Minister’s decision, as it was a matter of one international meeting.

Union Minister of State in the PMO V Narayanasamy said Dr. Singh’s decision “will go well with the people of Tamil Nadu.”

TN assembly has unanimously passed a resolution asking PM not to attend
the submit, that means its opinion of 10+ crore of people of tamilnadu
which approximately comes to 10% of Indian population.
We Tamils are part of Indian union, we expect our voice are heared.

from:  Selva Arangesan
Posted on: Nov 11, 2013 at 12:14 IST

if PM is skipping the CHOGM by giving reason that it is against the sentiment of people of India. Then why did he meet Nawaz Sharif at the UNGA in spite of knowing that Pakistani army was behind the beheading of Indian soldiers, Pakistan is epic Centre for terrorist activities in India, constant violation of ceasefire agreement by Pakistan army - was all these not against the sentiment of people of India???

It is now clear that PM is skipping the CHOGM meeting because of VOTE BANK POLITICS, because they know next general election is in next May and they don't want to lose their vote and potential ally DMK in Tamilnadu.

Present PM is the weakest PM in the Indian history...

from:  avinash khandelwal
Posted on: Nov 11, 2013 at 11:42 IST

PM of India has taken a political decision. Sri Lanka is following an apartheid towards its section of citizens through its Sinhala Only Act 1956. Due to this

1) 1,47,769 people were killed in the war during 2009.
2) Thirty 30 development of SriLanka is completely halted.
3) Tamils living in Eelam area are treated as 2nd grade citizens.
4) Srilanka had completely devastated in economics and other wealth have been in complete disorder.
5) Independent country to the Tamils is a only hope now.
6) The International Community must create this independent country.
7) The countries participating the Commonwealth are uplifting the Apartheid of Srilanka.

from:  Livi
Posted on: Nov 11, 2013 at 11:19 IST

Even in the case of Pakistan, it is only J&K making the whole nation responsible. Then why do you feel foolish for the same type of a case?

Posted on: Nov 11, 2013 at 10:54 IST

SL won"t consider India as a friendly country any more. Had enough back stabbing during last couple of years in Geneva and now. I think SL should try to look into other friendly countries like China and Pakistan to rely on and should reduce trading with India. Funny thing is Tamilnadu politicians want their fishermen to do fishing in Sri Lankan water and at the same time boycott the democratically elected government in SL . They cannot have their cake and eat it too.

from:  Channa
Posted on: Nov 11, 2013 at 10:51 IST

One state is making the entire country look foolish in front of the world.

from:  Raghu
Posted on: Nov 11, 2013 at 10:14 IST

The PM has at last taken a bold and right decision honoring the strong sentiments of the Tamils world over.In a complex situation like this, the decision has both pros and cons. It is time our MEA understands that diplomacy thrives in adverse conditions. One wonders whether Sri Lanka was humane hitherto towards Indian fishermen. The atrocities committed against them especially in the recent past is on the increase. On the rehabilitation of Sri Lankan Tamils also that government never honored its promises made to Indian government. Above all, it has initiated steps to nullify the 13th amendment, salient feature of peace agreement.It is time our MEA pursue active diplomacy and bring its own and international pressure for human rights violations. There is imperative need to devolve already agreed powers on Provincial council enabling people in Northern and Eastern provinces to live with equal rights.

from:  Dhanasekaran T
Posted on: Nov 11, 2013 at 10:10 IST

A trevesty indeed and while my pseudo patriotic Tamil ' champions of the cause ' will be laughing all the way to their ignorant vote banks, I would like them to answer this question that has been bothering me. OK we , the big brother snubs SL by asking Dr Singh to stay put in New Delhi. So now what? SL gets scared and hurriedly tries to put their house in order? Hardly. There are things which diplomacy can do and this was one of them..if India wants a change in SL, it needs to lead from the front and take them head on, not by pumping plastic bullets through a veiled mannequin. Absurd populism - 1, Logical conviction- retired hurt.

from:  suresh menon
Posted on: Nov 11, 2013 at 09:58 IST

To Dr. KV Peter: Hope you are not a Tamil to 'feel' what is the
proportion of genocide Srilanka has committed on the people of Tamil
Eelam. The CHOGM is a decorative and cosmetic forum of the ex-Imperial
slave nations still gambling on cricket games. Remember, each home in
Tamil Nadu has links one or the other ways with Tamil Eelam and
Srilanka from Pt. Petro to Hutton in the emerald islands. India as a
federation of states and territories cannot take it slightly the
sentiments of 10 crore Tamil speaking people living across the world.
Like the Arabs, the Tamil people are tightly roped in by their unique
language. If any Indian PM sidelines an important state like Tamil Nadu
and the sentiments of its people, it will reverberate around the globe
more strikingly than it was with the 28 years war for independent Tamil
Eelam by the Liberation Tigers. Still, to end it all with your inherent
fear for the Chinese, better India do a Sikkim with the Ceylon island
nation soon. Hope you got it.

from:  C. Sachidananda Narayanan
Posted on: Nov 10, 2013 at 18:58 IST

GOI might have come to this decision after lot of close room delibrations. But Govt. keeping in view of China's stratergic diplomacy and financial assistance to India's neighbouring countries, should play its card very safely and stratergically with its neighbouring countries.

from:  Karthik
Posted on: Nov 10, 2013 at 18:28 IST

India has successfully completed antagonising all its neighbours -
Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka now. China has virtually been
served a feast. Well done PM, Congress and UPA. Starting with Sethu
project mess, following up with telecom scams and now blackmailing the
inept Congress in to bungling its foreign policy, DMK has scored a hat
trick of disasters for India. Both parties will be punished but the
worst scenario is India too will be punished for meddling in affairs of
other countries like USA.

from:  Ravi
Posted on: Nov 10, 2013 at 18:06 IST

It is unfortunate that India is not represented by PM at CHOGM.The
political leadership has fallen to the Chinese net as brackish water
fish.The flimsy reason is also fishermen at the custody of Sri Lankan
army.The Tamil issue is a regional political issue solely for regional
vote banks.Nothing would have fallen if PM attended the important
international meet.As one Sri lankan journalst put it"CHOGM venue
could have been used effectively to convey Indias anguish and concern
on Tamilian issue".Running away from problems is only an act of a
coward and Indian foreign policy makers and short sighted bureaucracy
have made PM of India to place the platter of Sri Lanka at the hands
of China.The security perception of such an action has not been
correctly assessed.We have now enemies all around Pakistan as
epicentre for terrorists,Myanmar as haven for abductionalists in N.E.
and now Sri Lanka as play boy of Chinese.History will not forgive the
present PM, UPA II for exposing India to hegemony

from:  Dr K V Peter
Posted on: Nov 10, 2013 at 17:26 IST

The prime minister had taken the right decision regarding attending
Common Wealth summit at Colombo ! Even though the decision might be
largely influenced by the protests in Tamilnadu by Political parties
as well as student organizations,this would pave the for pressurizing
Srilankan government for working towards reconciliation efforts with
the minorities in the North - East and genuinely implementing the 13th
amendment and 13 plus as expected by the Indian government.Last time
when Manmohan Singh boycotted the 2011 CommonWealth meet at Perth due
to Australia's no Uranium policy for India.So India should upheld
commonwealth principle as the largest contributor and stand by Human
rights rather than a silent audience to the events in the Indian ocean

from:  Arunprakash T
Posted on: Nov 10, 2013 at 17:07 IST

PM, President, Vice President or the External Affairs Minister attending the CHOGM doesn't make much difference, all of them are top figures in any Govt and any one of them attending should mean a full government participation. Also External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid seems to be skipping Jaffna which again would be considered as a move in favor of SL govt headed by Mr Rajapakse. So on a overall the TN assembly resolution doesn't seem to have any effect on the Union Govt. Had this been the plan of the union govt then it would have been better if the Prime Minister had attended the meet as he would have at-least made some strong statements regarding the tamils issue, the fishermen issue and the human rights issue and there is no possibility of External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid ever speaking anything that would hurt his Srilankan Friend.

from:  PSMAYO
Posted on: Nov 10, 2013 at 15:35 IST
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