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CHOGM retreat: PM Modi joins world leaders at Windsor Castle

Prime Minister Narendra Modi On Friday Joined Other Heads Of Government For A Retreat At Windsor Castle, Which Will Conclude The Commonwealth Heads Of Government Meeting (CHOGM) In The UK.

News Nation Bureau | Edited By : Subhayan Chakraborty | Updated on: 20 Apr 2018, 05:37:57 PM
Narendra Modi (Source: PTI)

New Delhi:

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday joined other heads of government for a retreat at Windsor Castle, which will conclude the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in the UK.

"At the retreat unique to the Commonwealth heads meet privately to discuss collaboration on global and Commonwealth priorities. They will also consider reform and renewal of the Commonwealth," a Commonwealth statement said.

The closed-door meetings comprise the informal segment of CHOGM, where the leaders meet without any pre-set agenda and without the presence of their close aides.

The issue of succession is expected to dominate the retreat at the grand Waterloo Chamber of the Castle, one of the homes of Queen Elizabeth II, the Head of the Commonwealth. On Thursday, she expressed her "sincere wish" that her son and heir Prince Charles step into her shoes in her opening address for CHOGM  and a general consensus seems to be building around the 69-year-old royal.

"India has no objection to Prince Charles as the next Head because he has worked hard for the institution. However, we are also clear that there should be no institutionalisation of the post," a senior Indian official said.

The Queen who is now 91 years old is unlikely to attend any future Commonwealth summits in far flung member-countries and is keen to pass on the baton to the 69-year-old Prince of Wales.

"It is my sincere wish that the Commonwealth will continue to offer stability and continuity for future generations ? and will decide that one day the Prince of Wales will carry on the important work started by my father (King George VI) in 1949," she had said in her speech at Buckingham Palace.

The decision on a new Head will be up to the presidents and prime ministers representing the 53 member-countries as they gather for the retreat and, if there is an agreement, it will then be formally announced by Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland.        

However, the leaders may not be able to arrive at a decision on the matter today, in which case it will roll over to the next CHOGM.

The retreat will mark an end to the week-long summit in Britain, which started on
 Monday with forums on the theme of business, women, youth and civil society. The formal executive session of the heads of government meeting, themed around "Towards a Common Future', concluded last evening.

"The overall objective of the Prime Minister's participation at this CHOGM in 2018 signals our stepped up engagement with the Commonwealth. It conveys India's desire to see Commonwealth increase focus on developing country priorities," an MEA spokesperson said.

At the end of the retreat today, leaders will issue their joint communique and a leaders' statement. CHOGM takes place every two years in different Commonwealth countries, with the next host country also to be announced at the end of this summit.

Modi is scheduled to visit Germany at the end of the retreat for a brief bilateral meeting with Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin before he leaves for India.

(With inputs from PTI)

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First Published : 20 Apr 2018, 05:37:35 PM