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PM Manmohan Singh to meet Sri Lankan President in Myanmar

Mar 04, 2014 09:07 AM IST Politics Politics
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Naypyidaw: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is likely to hold dialogue with his Sri Lankan counterpart Mahinda Rajapaksa on the sidelines of the BIMSTEC Summit in Myanmar, which could be his last official foreign visit. This comes as another vote is expected at the UN Human Rights Council this month in Geneva over the alleged war crimes in Sri Lanka.

Amidst fresh criticism mounted both by DMK and the AIADMK, blaming the Centre for ignoring the plight of Sri Lankan Tamils. Prime Minister Singh will use the BIMSTEC Summit as an opportunity for a dialogue with Rajapaksa, their first after Manmohan Singh pulled out of the Commonwealth Heads of Group Meeting in Colombo five months ago.

"Last time, the Prime Minister had not refused, but was unable to go to CHOGM. There were certain situations. It is a BIMSTEC atmosphere today. I had a good meetings with Sri Lankan Foreign Minister GL Peiris, we have connectivity projects," said External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid.

The meeting comes at a time when another vote is expected at the UN Human Rights Council this month in Geneva, censuring Sri Lanka and calling for an international probe against alleged war crimes. India had voted against a similar US proposed anti-Sri Lanka resolutions in 2012 and 2013. For now, the government is employing a wait and watch strategy.

It is understood that last time around, the resolution against Sri Lanka had been watered down because of Indian pressure. However, New Delhi did vote against Colombo under pressure from the international community. For now official sources only say that India will pursue its own interests.

Also on Tuesday, the Prime Minister will meet his Bangladeshi counterpart Sheikh Hasina. This will be the first meeting since Hasina rode back to power early this year in an election that the West alleged was a farce. The government is hopeful of holding fruitful dialogue on issues of counter terrorism, security and economic co-operation.