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Manmohan Singh in Uganda for Commonwealth summit


Kampala : Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Thursday arrived in Ugandan capital Kampala to participate in the 53-nation Commonwealth summit.

The prime minister, who returned to New Delhi Tuesday from Singapore after attending the India-Asean summit, was expected to hold a string of bilateral meetings with Commonwealth leaders.

In a departure statement, Manmohan Singh said: “I look forward to meeting a large number of leaders and having a constructive dialogue with them on both bilateral and international issues. I will use the opportunity to highlight the major socio-economic transformation that is underway in India, and the opportunities this provides for the emergence of a new world order.

“India has consistently played an active role in the Commonwealth… India is strongly committed to the Commonwealth’s role of nurturing a sense of belonging to a shared past and a shared destiny based on common values.”

External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee will attend a meeting of foreign ministers that will precede the Commonwealth summit. Like the prime minister, he will also hold bilateral meetings with other foreign ministers.

In Uganda, India will pitch for the candidature of its envoy in London, Kamlesh Sharma, for the post of Commonwealth secretary general.

The Commonwealth ministerial action group will be discussing the possibility of suspending Pakistan, where President Pervez Musharraf’s emergency rule leading to the jailing of thousands of opposition and rights activists has put him in conflict with the West.

India is the largest member state of the Commonwealth. Thirty-two of the 53 member countries are small states. India attaches great importance in building bilateral ties with them.

Manmohan Singh will return to New Delhi around midnight Sunday.