Written byAnjana Raghav ·
Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to the UK for Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) from 18-20 April will mark India's enhanced engagement with the multilateral organization, including increased financial and other contributions.
An Indian PM is attending the summit, which is held every two years, after a hiatus of nearly a decade, having skipped CHOGMs in Perth, Colombo, and Malta since 2009.
According to senior officials, Prime Minister Modi's decision to attend the summit was also influenced by a very personal letter addressed to him by Queen Elizabeth II, the Head of the Commonwealth.
As Britain takes over the two-year Chair-in-Office of the Commonwealth at the heads of government deliberations, it will mark the last such summit to be hosted by the Queen.
With the 91-year-old monarch having ruled out long-haul travel, the Queen won't travel to future CHOGMs to be hosted by other member states.
This also triggered widespread speculation over whether her son and heir, Prince Charles, would be anointed as next head of the organization.
As the position isn't hereditary, a decision on succession will be taken collectively by 53 heads of Commonwealth government.
Appointment of the Commonwealth's new head is expected to be the central feature of deliberations when the leaders get together for the CHOGM leaders' retreat on April 20 at the grand Waterloo Chamber of Windsor Castle.
The retreat is described as the high-point of the summit when the leaders get together in an informal setting without any preset agenda.
There is reportedly no general consensus over Prince of Wales as next Commonwealth Head, with India yet to reveal its stand on a successor to the Queen.
The 69-year-old royal is keen to step into his mother's shoes but the decision will be up to the Presidents and Prime Ministers representing the 53 member-countries, which will then be announced by Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland.
The leaders may not be able to arrive at a decision on the matter at the end of the retreat, in which case it will roll over to the next CHOGM.
The Commonwealth members, who represent the former colonies of the British Empire, have a combined population of 2.4 billion, with nearly half of that concentrated in India - making it the largest member-country.
According to the "Commonwealth Trade Review 2018" released earlier this week, India is the top recipient of foreign direct investment (FDI) from within the Commonwealth and is the second-most lucrative source of investment within the organization.
Between 2005 and 2016, India remained the top recipient of Greenfield FDI from the Commonwealth, more than doubling the amount it received over ten years.
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