PM Singh to skip Commonwealth Summit in Perth

Melbourne: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh decided to skip the upcoming Commonwealth summit in Perth. However, a top diplomat said this has nothing to do with Australia’s refusal to sell uranium to India.

Manmohan Singh announced in August that he would not attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), to be hosted by the Julia Gillard, in Perth to be held from October 28.

“The announcement came without a detailed explanation, leading some commentators to conclude it was retaliation for the Australian Labour Party’s (ALP) policy of not selling uranium to India because it is outside the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty,” the AAP news agency reported.

But Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Secretary Dennis Richardson says that is ‘flat wrong’.

“There is not the slightest suggestion of that by the Indian government,” Richardson told a Senate estimates committee, the report said.

Monmohan Singh’s decision to pull out was related to domestic issues and the fact that the G20 leaders meeting is scheduled to occur just days after CHOGM, Richardson said.

CHOGM will be attended by leaders, delegates and media representatives from up to 54 Commonwealth nations.