Indian CEOs to attend Commonwealth biz forum in Sri Lanka

COLOMBO, Nov. 12 (Xinhua) — Eleven high-profile officials of Indian companies have arrived here for a major Commonwealth business forum, though the Indian prime minister has opted out of the upcoming Commonwealth Summit in Colombo for human rights concerns, said the Indian High Commission here on Tuesday.
The 11 chief executive officers (CEOs) belong to one of India’s largest trade chambers with over 8,100 members, the Indian High Commission said in a statement.
The delegates will take part in the Commonwealth Business Forum (CBF), which kicked off on Tuesday morning with the participation of 95 countries and is expected to attract 2 billion U.S. dollars in investment to Sri Lanka.
The CBF is taking place on the sidelines of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) hosted by Sri Lanka.
Representatives from 20 Indian companies will also take part in a trade and investment exhibition on the sidelines of CHOGM.
Over the weekend, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh decided not to attend CHOGM after being pressured by his ministers to censure Sri Lanka’s sketchy human rights record.
However, a delegation led by Indian Foreign Minister Salman Krushid will be attending CHOGM.
Indian media have criticized the diplomatic move, pointing out that it would be seen as a slur by Colombo and would damage future relations between the two neighbors.
Sri Lanka’s government also brushed aside the boycott and insisted that it would not diminish the importance of the event.
Sri Lanka’s External Affairs Minister G.L. Peiris told reporters that the 53 members of the Commonwealth need to be concerned with common issues and not sidetracked by political controversies.
“The political issues must not crowd out economic and social issues that are at the very heart of the relevance of the Commonwealth. If it (Commonwealth) is to flourish as a vibrant institution that builds the confidence of the people, there must be proper focuses in finding the solutions to the social issues,” asserted Peiris.
Strong presence is being recorded by other South Asian nations with two trade delegations from Bangladesh attending CBF.
The teams from the International Chamber of Commerce-Bangladesh (ICCB) and theDhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) will mainly explore market opportunities for  Bangladeshi products.
Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will also lead a delegation to CHOGM with bilateral meetings planned with Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa.  Enditem