India makes up its mind, to attend Nobel ceremony | india | Hindustan Times
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India makes up its mind, to attend Nobel ceremony

india Updated: Dec 08, 2010 15:02 IST
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Refusing to buckle under pressure from Beijing, India is all set to take part in the Nobel Peace Prize award ceremony for Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo in Oslo on Friday.

The move comes ahead of Chinese premier Wen Jiabao's visit to India on December 15. Foreign ministry officials refused to comment on India's participation.

Beijing has asked several countries, including India, to boycott the ceremony or face its displeasure. A foreign ministry spokesperson called the prize an open support for criminal activities in China. It is learnt Brazil and South Africa (from the IBSA grouping) are likely to take part in the ceremony.

India sounded out the Nobel Prize Committee that it will attend the ceremony.

PTI quoted Torill Johansen, secretary in the Nobel Committee staff, as saying India was among 44 countries that had informed organisers of their participation.

But Beijing's campaign to boycott the ceremony just got bigger and sharper.

"We will not change because of interference by a few clowns," snapped Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Jiang Yu on Tuesday.

He said China had the "explicit support" of more than 100 countries and international organisations to back Beijing. It was not clear whether this group would boycott the prize ceremony.

Jiang did not name the countries but said "a majority" of the international community supported China. Beijing has warned Norway that the prize decision made it difficult to maintain friendly ties.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee says 19 nations including China will not attend the ceremony "for various reasons".

Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Iraq are among nations that will not attend.

An official source said, "As of now, the decision is to participate. Usually we are represented by the ambassador. Any decision otherwise will be a contrary one."

Liu was awarded the peace prize "for his long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights in China."