India’s Commonwealth commitment ‘sets a positive example’

Baroness Patricia Scotland
Baroness Patricia Scotland

INDIA has been praised for its “strong commitment” towards the Commonwealth, with the secretary-general Baroness Pa­tricia Scotland saying the coun­try has set an example which other members have emulated.

Baroness Scotland said the bi­ennial Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Britain marks a “great time” for India to lead the way on in­tra-Commonwealth cooperation.

India’s prime minister Naren­dra Modi will join heads of state from other member countries at the summit in London and Windsor in April, when they will get a chance to have “very per­sonal and direct” interactions, Baroness Scotland said in Lon­don last Wednesday (14).

“India has done a lot on inno­vation and in every ministerial Commonwealth meeting, we see strong commitment from India. In welcoming that strong com­mitment, I am so happy to see it matched by the other 52 coun­tries,” she said.

Baroness Scotland highlighted India’s active role and “great generosity” during the recent Commonwealth education min­isters’ meeting in Fiji, where it shared with other member-states its Massive Online Open Courses (MOOC) platform for education, innovation and change.

During the law ministers’ meeting in the Bahamas last year, India revealed the sort of instru­ments being created to get cheaper, better and faster pro­cesses. “Looking at the opportu­nity, we have launched a small and medium enterprise network in India and we are hoping to have a branch of that in the Pa­cific,” said Baroness Scotland.

CHOGM on April 19 and 20 will be preceded by the Com­monwealth Business Forum from April 16-18, which will bring together hundreds of busi­ness people and stakeholders from across the 53 Common­wealth countries.

“Participation from Indian businesses to the Common­wealth Business Forum is just staggering in terms of the calibre, range, innovation and dynamism,” said Richard Burge, CEO of the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council (CWEIC), who will lead the trade and busi­ness strand of the agenda.

“India is a huge nation, it is bound to have a huge impact with its incredibly diverse economy. It is a knock-your-socks-off econo­my and we should be proud of it as a member and take every ad­vantage that we can,” he said.

The theme of CHOGM, being chaired by Britain this year, is Towards a Common Future and is focused on building on the strengths of the Commonwealth.