Respect Indian PM's decision to not attend CHOGM: Cameron

Respect Indian PM's decision to not attend CHOGM: Cameron
New Delhi, Nov 14: British Prime Minister David Cameron today said he was all for attending a multilateral platform like CHOGM as, rather than boycotting it, one could help lead it by raising issues of human rights.

"I think the advantage of going to a multilateral organisation is that you can help lead it. I think, actually, going to Sri Lanka will help to shine the light on some issues," he said, addressing Indian businessmen here.

He, however, said he respected Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's decision to not attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Colombo. "I totally respect the decision (by Singh to not go)... it's a decision that they have to make," he said.

Cameron said he was going to CHOGM to take up issues there, for which he has also sought a separate meeting with Sri Lankan President Rajapaksha. The visiting Prime Minister said India, Canada and Britain had the same approach on Sri Lanka — of seeing more effort at reconciliation and in probes into allegations of crimes.

The Prime Ministers of India and Canada have decided not to attend the CHOGM meeting in Sri Lanka over issues of rights. "We want to see greater efforts of reconciliation, we want to see better efforts on human rights. We want to see proper inquiries into what happened at the end of that dreadful civil war. It's not a difference in policy," he said.

Cameron said one could not get anywhere by staying away from an international conference which represents 54 nations and covers a third of the world's population along with a fifth of its economy. Intimidation of journalists and human rights defenders, action to stamp out torture and demilitarisation of northern Sri Lanka would also feature amongst the issues which he takes up during CHOGM. As to CHOGM, Cameron said it was a big summit and an important moment and the world was looking up to the Commonwealth to rise to the occasion.

The British Prime Minister later met six young Indian MPs — Deepinder Hooda, Anurag Thakur, Agatha Sangma, Jaya Panda, Jayant Chaudhary and Manicka Tagore, and exchanged notes with them. He also held a meeting with Mahindra and Mahindra chief Anand Mahindra. 


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