12 August, 2020

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Decision To Boycott CHOGM Will Isolate India Says SL Envoy

With Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh yet to take a decision on whether to attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Colombo next month, Sri Lanka has made it clear that India would be isolated if it does not participate in the summit, India media reports.

Prasad Kariyawasam

“All the governments in the Commonwealth had decided unanimously that the Commonwealth Summit will be held in Sri Lanka, so there is no boycott. Isolation will happen to those who do not participate not the other way round,” Sri Lankan High Commissioner to India Prasad Kariyawasam told a television channel, the Press Trust of India reports.

He also told CNN-IBN that the “Prime Minister of India is not only leader in this region but leader in Asia, leader in Commonwealth and even in fact the world, so bearing that in mind….It is a decision that India will have to take bearing in mind the national responsibilities and their profile.”

Last week, Indian Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh said the Prime Minister has been invited by the government of Sri Lanka for CHOGM but the government has not taken any decision.

“The decision will be taken closer to the date (of CHOGM) keeping in view the foreign policy, international obligations and national interest,” she told reporters when asked whether the Prime Minister will travel to Colombo to attend the meet.

The Sri Lankan Envoy’s comments came after the Tamil Nadu Assembly passed an unanimous resolution demanding New Delhi completely boycott CHOGM in Colombo and seek a temporary suspension of Sri Lanka from the Commonwealth.

The Indian Prime Minister’s delay in announcing his decision on whether or not attend the summit in Colombo is being criticised because it is allowing pressure to be applied on the Central Government and keeping the rest of the Commonwealth guessing about New Delhi’s actual position. It is however reliably learnt that Premier Singh is unlikely to attend and will send a relatively low profile representative in his stead to Colombo in November.

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