Last updateTue, 17 Mar 2015 2pm

#POLITICKING!: Manmohan Singh "UNLIKELY" to travel to Sri Lanka for CHOGM 2013

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is "unlikely" to travel to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Sri Lanka in the face of continued opposition to the visit by his coalition allies in Tamil Nadu.

Several prominent political groups in the southern state allied to Singh's United Progressive Alliance (UPA) have demanded Singh boycott the visit citing the Sri Lankan government's alleged persecution of the Tamil minority on the Island.

It has now emerged that Mr Singh's advisors have told the Prime Minister that it would be "difficult" for him to travel to Sri Lanka this month given the importance of the support of his Tamil Nadu allies in the upcoming Lok Sabha (Lower House of Parliament) elections.

The state assembly in Tamil Nadu has also passed a number of resolutions against India's participation in the biennial CHOGM.

As a result, the Prime Minister is unlikely to join other Commonwealth leaders at the conference in Colombo, according to reports from India.

India's Foreign Affairs Ministry has said that it is important for Mr Singh to travel to Sri Lanka to engage with the Lankan government, with External Affairs minister Salman Khurshid privately saying it was in India's interests to not boycott the meeting, given China's prominent presence on the Island.

Mr Singh's Congress Party has so far refused to take a stand in public on the politically-sensitive issue.

The party has said it will back whatever decision the Prime Minister takes on India’s participation in the summit keeping in mind national interests.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has already announced his boycott of the summit, which begins on Sunday.

Other leaders however, including British Prime Minister David Cameron and Australian leader Tony Abbott have pledged the importance of travelling to Sri Lanka to "engage with the administration of Mahinda Rajapakse" which has been accused of violating the rights of the minority Tamil community - which enjoys widespread support in Tamil Nadu - and suppressing dissent.



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