Written By Shubhayan Bhattacharya | Mumbai | Updated On: March 09, 2020 00:30 IST
Ahead of the Commonwealth Day that will be celebrated on March 9, a senior UK diplomat said, nations of the CW will use its shared values, culture and history make their citizens’ lives better. In a recorded statement in Hindi, Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon, Minister of State (Minister for South Asia and the Commonwealth) and Prime Minister’s Special Representative on Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict said, the UK is committed to further engage with CW partners for greater prosperity.
“This year’s theme for the Commonwealth Day is based on the inter-governmental discussions held in London in 2018. One which aims a common future based on uniting people, promoting innovation and supporting transformation. We also share values, culture, history and aspirations; and through our creativity and innovation, will transform the Commonwealth nations and make our people’s future better,” said Lord Ahmad.
The Indian-origin British diplomat also said the Commonwealth nations will work together to face global challenges, from plastic pollution to trade issues to matters of women empowerment. “I am proud that the UK is assisting the Commonwealth’s 2.4 billion people achieve greater prosperity, better security and a more sustainable future.” Lord Ahmad has personal links to India as his parents are natives of this country.
Speaking about India’s significance in the Games, Lord Ahmad said, “I cannot emphasise enough the vital role India has to play in realising these ambitions. It is the world’s largest democracy, 5th largest economy, and home to 60% of the Commonwealth’s population. It will also host the G20 in 2022. India is already providing impressive support to the 32 ‘small states’ – those member states that are particularly vulnerable to external shocks as a result of their geographic positioning, inherent structural challenges, and deep integration into the global economy. India is at the forefront of furthering South-South development with Prime Minister Modi’s commitment at the London CHOGM to double India’s contribution to the Commonwealth Fund for Technical Cooperation”.
“I hope you will share my ambition, and that of our Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab of strengthening our incredible ties. In doing so, I wish all of the 54 member states of the Commonwealth family that span the globe a very happy Commonwealth day.”
Lord Ahmad further added, ”The Commonwealth is a natural constituency for India. It gives India the appropriate platform to shape global debate, gives small states a voice at major international fora, and to share its expertise and know-how more widely. I’m delighted to note that Jadav Payeng from Assam, the ‘forest man of India’, has been awarded the 128th Commonwealth Points of Light Award for his work on environment conservation. One individual planting trees over decades to create an entire forest reserve is a powerful metaphor for what the UK and India can achieve together as a global force for good.”
The Indian-origin British diplomat also emphasised that a distinguishing feature of the Commonwealth is that it not just a network of governments, but a family of interconnected networks.
The Commonwealth Cricket Camp, announced by PM Modi, and run at the National Cricket Academy in Bengaluru under the expert eye of legend Rahul Dravid last October, brought together two vital elements of the Commonwealth, youth and cricket. I look forward to welcoming the Indian team to the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, in 2022. The Games’ vision of building peaceful, sustainable and prosperous communities globally through Sport encapsulates the values of the modern Commonwealth. I am also very pleased that India will host Commonwealth shooting and archery events in Chandīgarh in January 2022, and that India is considering bidding to host the Commonwealth Games in 2026.
What is Commonwealth Day?
Commonwealth Day is an annual celebration observed by people all over the Commonwealth in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and Americas, the Pacific and Europe. The CW is a bloc of nations that were formerly part of the British colonial empire. Commonwealth Day 2020 will be celebrated on 09 March with events including flag parades, church services, poetry mornings, dance performances and much more.
According to the bloc’s website, this year’s event is centred around the theme ‘Delivering a Common Future’, highlighting how the 54 member countries in the Commonwealth family are ‘innovating, connecting and transforming’ to help achieve some of its biggest goals like protecting natural resources and boosting trade.
Now since Britain has left the European Union, the country is showing an increasingly proactive role in the CW. The UK is looking for new partners across the world through CW as it loses the clout of its EU link and risks being left out of critical global affairs like trade and security.
First Published: March 08, 2020 19:25 IST