Attending Nobel Ceremony Not a Bilateral Issue: India

New Delhi
Attending Nobel Ceremony Not a Bilateral Issue: India
India has decided to attend the ceremony where the Nobel Peace Prize will be presented to Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo in Oslo on Friday, notwithstanding China's call for a boycott of the function.

Although China has called upon all countries, including India to keep away from the ceremony, New Delhi does not see it as a bilateral issue with Beijing, official sources said.

India is among 44 countries which has confirmed its participation as against 19 countries, including Pakistan, Russia, Kazakhstan, Columbia, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Iraq, Iran, Vietnam and Afghanistan which have for various reasons declined the invitation.

 The sources said the country's representation will be at the same level as in the past at the ceremony.

"Indian Ambassador to Norway has attended the function in 2008, 2009 and this year also Ambassador Banbit Roy has confirmed his participation at the ceremony," Torill Johansen, Secretary in the Nobel Committee Staff, told PTI.

The Oslo ceremony comes only five days ahead of Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao's visit to the country.

China has protested against the Nobel Committee's decision to award Liu, saying "Liu Xiaobo is a criminal who has been sentenced by Chinese judicial departments for violating Chinese law."

Liu is serving an 11-year jail term on subversion charges for his role in advocating democracy and multi-party rule.
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