‘Manmohan’s decision to miss CHOGM disappointing for Aus’

Melbourne: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s decision to miss the upcoming Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Perth has been disappointing for Australia, a top Indian business leader has said.
“It’s true that Australian Prime Minister (Julia Gillard) was looking forward to welcoming the Indian Prime Minister. There was lot of expectations from that visit. And I must say there is a bit of disappointment,” Director General and CEO of Commonwealth Business Council Mohan Kaul said on the sidelines of Australia India Business Council meet.
A strong Indian delegation led by Vice President Hamid Ansari will attend the CHOGM to be held in October, Kaul said.
“We have number of ministers and business leaders participating from India,” he said, adding the council was trying to reassure Canberra that it would not affect India Australia business relations.
Recently, Australia India Institute director Amitabh Mattoo had said Singh’s absence was said to have taken away the sheen off the forum.
He said there was a feeling that the Labour government’s decision not to supply uranium to India was influencing Singh’s travel plans and despite a growing convergence of values and interests, and the efforts of two high commissioners, there was still little real conversation between key players in Australia and their counterparts in India.
“New Delhi and Canberra may know each other, but they still do not have a nuanced understanding of each other. Thus in the absence of a sustained engagement at many levels, even a single issue can derail bilateral ties. This needs to change if the two countries are to work with each other and in the interests of the region,” he said.
Indian Consul General in Melbourne S K Behera said it was a government’s decision but India did see CHOGM with great importance.
It is understood that Canberra had plans to accord Singh the rare honour of addressing both houses of parliament during his visit. (PTI)