|Indian premier to boycott Commonwealth conference|
in Sri Lanka 2013
India’s prime minister will not attend the Commonwealth Summit in Sri Lanka later this week, his office confirmed.Officials said Singh would write to Sri Lanka’s president, Mahinda Rajapaksa, to explain his decision, which is thought to be related to domestic political pressure to take a stronger stance against alleged war crimes committed during the 26-year civil war.
Indian media said its external affairs minister, Salman Khurshid, would lead the nation’s delegation.
Mr Khurshid acknowledged that domestic politics and pressure from “strident” Indian Tamil parties had played a role in Mr Singh’s decision not to go.
Five state elections are to be held this month and next and a general election is coming next year. Given all that, and the expected recovery in the Indian economy, Mr Khurshid told the FT it was “a period in which all the top leaders need to be seen to be visibly engaged”.
He said the Commonwealth summit was “a game in which we are not playing our captain, but we still have the team . . . Our preferred messenger will not be there, but the message will be there.”