Virtually opposing calls for India's boycott of the Commonwealth summit in Sri Lanka, senior Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar today said it was essential to maintain ties with the neighbour with the ongoing New Delhi-sponsored rehabilitation works for Tamils in the Island Nation. Talking to reporters here, the former Union minister said the Tamil Nadu Assembly had unanimously adopted a resolution urging India to boycott the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) to be held in Colombo next month. However, there was another side which wanted India to participate in the meet to safeguard the interest of Tamils in Sri Lanka, he said. "Sri Lanka is our neighbour and for the Tamils living there the Indian government has taken up rehabilitation programme spending crores.
In this situation we should have ties with them. The Sri Lanka problem is not only connected with Tamil Nadu but it's a national problem," he said. Maintaining that as per the Constitution, foreign policies were decided by the PM, Aiyar said that no one could interfere and the PM himself would take a decision on his participation. Aiyar is the second senior Congress leader to speak in favour of India's participation in the summit after Union Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Sudarshan Nachiappan, who said the country's presence could bring in foreign investments. Several political parties in the state have been demanding that India should boycott the CHOGM meet in view of rights abuses by Sri Lanka against Tamils living there.