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Prince Charles to visit India, invite Modi to Commonwealth leaders’ meet

India and the Commonwealth have come in sharper focus for Britain as it prepares for life outside the European Union.

world Updated: Oct 05, 2017 22:58 IST
Prince Charles,Commonwealth,Prime Minister Narendra Modi
File photo of Britain’s Prince Charles.(Getty Images)

Britain’s Prince Charles will visit India on November 8 as part of a Commonwealth-focussed visit to three countries and invite Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the next Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in April 2018 – seen as key to London’s post-Brexit plans.

Accompanied by his wife, the Duchess of Cornwall, the prince will visit Singapore and Malaysia before touching down in New Delhi. The two-day visit is being undertaken “at the request of the British government… in advance of the Commonwealth Summit in April 2018”, Charles’ official residence Clarence House said in a statement on Thursday.

Besides meeting Modi, the royal couple will attend several “engagements to underscore the strength and vitality of the UK-India relationship and the rich exchange of ideas between our two countries”, Clarence House said.

“In particular, there will be an opportunity to celebrate the vibrancy of our cultural collaboration in this, the UK-India Year of Culture,” the statement said.

India and the Commonwealth have come in sharper focus as London prepares for life outside the European Union. The idea is to re-vitalise trade links with them in anticipation of the loss of barriers-free access to the EU common market after Brexit.

Addressing Commonwealth leaders at the UN General Assembly in September, May launched the theme for the 2018 CHOGM — Towards a Common Future — and set out four main goals for the summit.

The goals are — Prosperity: boosting intra-Commonwealth trade and investment; Security: increasing cooperation across security challenges including global terrorism, organised crime and cyber attacks; Fairness: promoting democracy, fundamental freedoms and good governance across the Commonwealth; and Sustainability: building the resilience of small and vulnerable states to deal with the effects of climate change and other global crises.

Billed as the biggest meeting of heads of government Britain has ever hosted, CHOGM will take place in iconic venues in London and Windsor, including Buckingham Palace, St James’s Palace and Windsor Castle from April 16-20, 2018.

It will bring together up to 52 Commonwealth leaders, up to 52 foreign ministers and people from across business and civil society, representing the Commonwealth’s global network.

Modi’s last visit of London was in November 2015, when David Cameron was the prime minister. Cameron’s successor Theresa May chose India for her first trip outside Europe, visiting in November 2016.

First Published: Oct 05, 2017 22:50 IST