Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who arrived in the UK on Wednesday for a 3-day visit, will today spend his day in multilateral discussions as part of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM).
Yesterday, the Prime Minister spent his day in bilateral engagements and addressed the ‘Bharat Ki Baat, Sabke Saath’ diaspora event.
The prime minister will today join 52 other heads of government at the 25th CHOGM.
The executive session of the heads of the Commonwealth countries will be followed by a retreat at Windsor, where the world leaders will interact on an informal basis.
An Indian prime minister will attend the Commonwealth summit, which is held every two years, after a hiatus of nearly a decade, having last attended the 2009 CHOGM in Trinidad and Tobago.
The Indian government has said that Modi’s attendance at the summit this year symbolises the country’s wider efforts to step up its role across global forums. This stepped-up engagement is likely to take the form of increased activity within the Commonwealth, including greater resources and manpower as well as financial contributions.
Modi had given the last summit at Malta in 2015 a miss.
His predecessor, Manmohan Singh, had not attended the 2011 CHOGM summit in Australia, and the 2013 one in Sri Lanka.
“Modi’s decision to attend the CHOGM, after giving the last summit at Malta in 2015 a miss, signals a change of approach towards a forum generally considered as a non-entity in Indian strategic circles,” hink tank Observer Research Foundation (ORF) said in a report.
“Modi’s decision to attend CHOGM 2018 against the backdrop of India’s historical lack of interest in the organisation, has sent reassuring signals especially in London. It is being interpreted as a sign of India’s willingness to engage constructively with the organisation at a time when it is struggling with the very question of its relevance,” the report titled “Modi and CHOGM 2018: Reimagining the Commonwealth” said.
“India’s engagement is absolutely brilliant there is a recognition that the Commonwealth offers a great opportunity for India and within that opportunity lies an opportunity for the rest of the Commonwealth,” said Lord Marland, chairman of the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council (CWEIC), ahead of the Summit.
India is also among four countries to pool into an innovative USD 5 million fund for small states to obtain easier access to international trade finance to diversify their economies and achieve the sustainable development goals.
India joins Sri Lanka, Mauritius and Malta to inject capital into the new scheme, which has Standard Chartered Bank and the Bank of Baroda as its the facility managers.
The announcement was made by the Commonwealth Small States Trade Finance Facility on Wednesday.
The Commonwealth Secretariat-backed trade finance facility guarantees 10% of any loans secured to develop trade and sustain economic and social development. This guarantee could release USD 100 million of incremental trade finance over a three-year period to any of the 31 Commonwealth nations classified as small states.
Pilot countries selected for the spring launch of the scheme include Bahamas, Botswana, Brunei, Dominica, Fiji, Mauritius, Namibia and Seychelles.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s schedule for CHOGM Summit April 19, 2018:
10:00 AM: Formal opening of the CHOGM Summit by HM the Queen (Buckingham Palace)
11:00 AM to 12:00 PM: Official welcome by UK PM and Commonwealth Secretary General (St. James Palace)
12:15 PM to 1:00 PM: Executive Session 1 (Lancaster House)
2:30 PM to 3:45 PM: Executive Session 2 (Lancaster House)
19:50 PM: Reception and Dinner by HM the Queen for Commonwealth Leaders