India is looking to establish a more dominant role in the Commonwealth, in order to further its strategic and economic interests, the Economic Times has reported
India is looking to establish a more dominant role in the Commonwealth, in order to further its strategic and economic interests, the Economic Times has reported.
Prime Minister Modi discussed the potential move with Prince Charles during his recent visit to India in November 2017, along with setting up a Commonwealth Secretariat in the country.
A leading role is particularly appealing to India due to the absence from the forum of China, a global superpower often in political and economic conflict with the former British colony.
China’s economic boom in recent years has served as both an example and source of tension to India, whose own economy has the potential for similar success, though it has not yet been realised.
China’s close ally, Pakistan, however, is a part of the Commonwealth.
India has openly expressed its concern about Pakistan’s relationship with its powerful rival, including the garnering of support on China’s position on South China Sea disputes from African members of the Non-Aligned Movement.
Having increased engagement with fellow Commonwealth countries in Africa and the Pacific, India is now in a position to better influence international discussion and policy.
India’s active involvement in Commonwealth forums and movements has been limited in the past, with former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh absent from previous Commonwealth Heads of Government summits in 2011 and 2013, and the current PM did not attend the last summit in Malta in 2015.
Modi is, however, now expected to attend the forthcoming Commonwealth summit in April 2018 and push for an agenda beneficial to the Asian country.
This is widely regarded as a response to the UK’s desire for other member countries to take the lead on Commonwealth projects and issues.
Accounting for 55% of the Commonwealth’s population and 26% of its internal trade, India holds an important, if currently politically-limited, position in the Commonwealth, and an increase in influence would serve to promote its economic and international agenda.
Read More: UK Minister for the Commonwealth, Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, has outlined the priorities delegates will debate at the Commonwealth leaders’ Summit, also known as CHOGM, due to take place in April, 2018