Press Esc to close

Diplomatic error

November 11, 2013: 22:49 IST
AP Photo
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s decision to keep away from the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Colombo this week is a serious diplomatic error.

After much dithering the government has decided that external affairs minister Salman Khurshid will lead the Indian delegation for the meet. This is against national interest and the best principles of foreign policy practised by governments in the past. The UPA government has been known as decision-shy or prone to wrong decisions during much of its recent tenure. The decision on the CHOGM summit shows this tellingly, and it will have a very negative impact on India’s relations with Lanka. The government has, as in the case of a number of other issues relating to economic, political or public policies, shown itself as lacking in authority, unsure of itself and vulnerable even to empty pressure.

The Tamil Nadu government, the state assembly and all political parties had demanded a complete boycott of the Commonwealth meet by India. Union ministers from the state also demanded that the Prime Minister stay away from the meet. It was inappropriate that they made the demand in public. If they felt strongly about the matter they could have written to the Prime Minister about it. Ironically, all the show of concern over the rights of Tamils in Sri Lanka is sham. The postures are only meant for the elections. But they will not help too. Boycott or no boycott, the Congress cannot win a seat in Tamil Nadu without help. The DMK also will find the going tough however much it pleads the Sri Lankan Tamil cause.

That cause has in fact been badly served by the government’s decision. Continued full engagement with the Sri Lankan government would have given India the leverage to persuade Colombo to protect and promote the interests of Tamils. There is much more to be done through devolution of powers to the Tamil-dominated areas. India will now have less of such leverage with a Sri Lankan government unhappy with its decision. An estrangement with India will push it closer to China which is trying to increase its presence and influence in the island. This is not in the strategic interests of India. It is very wrong to allow the country’s foreign policy to be held hostage to the narrow political and electoral considerations of regional parties. A weak government is setting a bad precedent for future, and no one gains from it too.

Go to Top

More from this section
Most trending stories
Photo Gallery
Hundreds of vehicles stranded at Jammu-Srinagar national highway as it remained closed...

Hundreds of vehicles stranded at Jammu-Srinagar national highway as it remained closed...

Prime Minister Narendra Modi receiving a memento from FICCI president Pankaj Patel at the 90th...

Prime Minister Narendra Modi receiving a memento from FICCI president Pankaj Patel at the 90th...

Tourists enjoy the weather after a fresh snowfall at Mahasu peak in Kufri near Shimla on Wednesday..

Tourists enjoy the weather after a fresh snowfall at Mahasu peak in Kufri near Shimla on Wednesday..

Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, left, and Prince Harry on the red carpet as they attend...

Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, left, and Prince Harry on the red carpet as they attend...

India's captain Rohit Sharma celebrates his double-century during the second ODI cricket match...

India's captain Rohit Sharma celebrates his double-century during the second ODI cricket match...

A leopard after it fell into a well at Bamungaon in Guwahati on Wednesday....

A leopard after it fell into a well at Bamungaon in Guwahati on Wednesday....

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, senior BJP leader LK Advani...

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, senior BJP leader LK Advani...

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi (C) pays homage to the victims of the December 2001 parliament.

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi (C) pays homage to the victims of the December 2001 parliament.

Bollywood actress Soha Ali Khan with mother Sharmila Tagore and sister Saba Ali Khan at the launch..

Bollywood actress Soha Ali Khan with mother Sharmila Tagore and sister Saba Ali Khan at the launch..

Sunset in Bengaluru on Wednesday...

Sunset in Bengaluru on Wednesday...

Like us on Facebook

Copyright 2017, The Printers (Mysore) Private Ltd., 75, M.G Road, Post Box 5331, Bengaluru - 560001
Tel: +91 (80) 25880000 Fax No. +91 (80) 25880523
Powered by Yodasoft Technologies Pvt. Ltd.