NEW DELHI: India is gearing up to play an advanced role in the Commonwealth, a many-sided alliance that could now work especially glowing for India’s global ambition.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to almost double India’s financial contribution to the Commonwealth when he heads to London this week for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM). That will be followed by India indicating that it is ready to take on greater responsibilities in the Commonwealth and play a leading role in terms of increased Indian activity.
This will also be the first time when an Indian PM will be there at a CHOGM since 2009. PM Modi himself left out the last one in Malta.
“India’s engagement with multilateral bodies has been increasing consistently and the Commonwealth is no different. There is a clear desire to play a greater leadership role in the international arena and the UK wants India, as the largest country in the Commonwealth, to take on a more important role within the organisation,” said Dinesh Patnaik, deputy high commissioner of India to the UK as quoted by TOI.
Modi’s bilateral actions in London will embrace an audience with Queen Elizabeth. Worth mentioning here she will be hosting perhaps her last CHOGM summit. It’s still uncertain who will take over from her as chief of the Commonwealth. This is expected to be discussed during the leaders’ retreat at the Waterloo Chamber of Windsor Castle, which is being scared out of the wits open for the occasion.
“At the retreat, unique to the Commonwealth, heads meet privately to discuss collaboration on global and Commonwealth priorities. They will also consider reform and renewal of the Commonwealth,” a Commonwealth statement said.
Modi will land in the United Kingdom on Tuesday night after bilateral talks in Sweden and an Indo-Nordic summit with Norway, Iceland, Sweden, Denmark and Finland in Stockholm.
In London, Modi will kick off a day of bilateral summit on Wednesday before a CHOGM dinner hosted by British PM Theresa May at Sky Garden in London. The bilateral meeting will stress on the “technology partnership”, which was started a while ago. This takes account of British companies “creating in India”.
India-UK trade increased 15% in the past year while Indian issuers raised 5.3 billion pounds on the London Stock Exchange. India is also the fourth largest investor in the UK. A significant upshot of the summit is likely to be focused on data protection and cybersecurity.