India has decided against pulling out of the Leaders’ Forum being hosted by UNESCO in Paris with Union HRD Minister Smriti Irani leaving for the conference on Sunday afternoon.
Government sources told The Indian Express, that the decision was taken despite reports of some countries pulling out of the conference in wake of security concerns in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks in the French capital on November 13.
“India is with France in such challenging circumstances and that’s the message we want to send with our presence at the Leaders’ Forum,” said an HRD Ministry official, who did not wish to be identified.
The UNESCO Leaders’ Forum is being organised on November 16 and 17 to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the adoption of its Constitution. Governments of all member-states have been invited to share their vision for UNESCO. The Union HRD Minister will address the heads of state on challenges of education and also express solidarity with France in wake of the terrorist attacks.
Irani, however, has curtailed her programme in Paris by cancelling an interaction with school students and a dinner that she was to host for India’s BRICS compatriots as France has declared three-day mourning for its victims. A bilateral meeting with the UNESCO’s Director-General is still on the agenda.