India PM to miss Commonwealth summit in Sri Lanka

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will skip a Commonwealth summit in Sri Lanka amid pressure to boycott the event over alleged war crimes by Colombo, a top government source said Sunday.

Singh wrote to Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse on Sunday informing him of his decision not to attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government Summit (CHOGM), the Indian government source said.

Singh has been pressed by Indian Tamil groups and several powerful federal ministers to skip the 53-nation meeting to protest the alleged massacre of Tamil civilians by Sri Lankan forces in 2009, at the end of the island's decades-long civil war.

Singh's letter does not give the reasons for skipping the event, according to the Press Trust of India.

India's External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid will instead lead the Indian delegation at the event in Colombo from November 15-17.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has urged his counterparts to follow him in boycotting the CHOGM summit, in protest at alleged war crimes and rights abuses on the island.

British Prime Minister David Cameron has said he will attend the event, but has pledged to push for an international investigation into the allegations of war crimes that Colombo denies.

Cameron's office also said in a tweet late Saturday that he will put "serious questions" to Rajapakse, after watching a "chilling documentary" about the events of 2009 that shows footage of alleged war crimes by government forces.