In a bid to play down the domestic opposition to India’s participation in the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Colombo, external affairs minister Salman Khurshid said on Wednesday it was in India’s “enlightened national interest” to engage with the island nation.
The minister, who is heading the Indian delegation for CHOGM after Manmohan Singh decided against attending the meet, said even to impress upon Colombo the importance of the Tamil question, there had to be engagement with the Sri Lankan government and regional leaders should do an assessment of what India had been doing for the Tamil minority in Lanka.
“It is a failure for some to see what is in the enlightened national interests, our self-interests. If it comes in the way of foreign policy, obviously in it is an impediment,” Khurshid told journalists travelling with him to Colombo for CHOGM, to take place from November 15 to 17.
“I can’t discuss any of these issues unless I am not there,” he said, referring to devolution of powers in the Tamil-dominated province of northern Sri Lanka. Domestic opposition to India’s participation at CHOGM was because of alleged human rights violations by Sri Lankan soldiers in the final phases of the war against the Tamil insurgency.