India to attend Nobel ceremony: report

NEW DELHI, December 7, 2010 (AFP) – India will attend Friday’s Nobel peace prize ceremony in Oslo for jailed Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo, the country’s national news agency said on Tuesday. The Press Trust of India (PTI) did not give details or say who will represent India at the ceremony.

Indian Foreign Ministry spokesman Vishnu Prakash declined to comment on the news agency’s report when contacted by AFP.

According to the Nobel Institute, 44 embassies have accepted invitations to the event, while 19 have refused “for various reasons” and two have not replied.

China said earlier that the “vast majority” of countries would not attend the ceremony in honour of Liu, described by Beijing as a criminal.

The PTI report came ahead of a scheduled visit next week to India by Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao for talks with his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh and others.

India-Chinese relations have become more prickly in recent times over such issues as trade and their disputed Himalayan border — the trigger for a brief, bloody war in 1962.

India remains wary of China’s growing presence in South Asia, including investments in ports in Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Pakistan, a