London: India on Thursday backed Maldives re-entry into the Commonwealth.
In his address at the 19th Commonwealth Foreign Affairs Ministers Meeting (CFAMM) hosted by the UK, Dr Jaishankar called for fast-tracking of the process of re-admission of Maldives to the Commonwealth.
A statement from the Ministry of External Affairs said that in his address, Dr Jaishankar said India is firm about fulfilling all the commitments made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) 2018 much before the next CHOGM in 2020.
Maldives President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih in December made the request in a letter to Secretary-General of The Commonwealth Patricia Scotland to rejoin the forum. Maldives withdrew from the Commonwealth in 2016 under former President Abdulla Yameen. "I said when Maldives withdrew from the Commonwealth that I hoped the separation would be temporary," the Secretary-General has said in a statement last year. "So the decision to seek readmission as a member of the Commonwealth family is encouraging. We very much look forward to engaging with the government and people of Maldives as the application for membership is considered. To re-join, Maldives must demonstrate that it complies with the fundamental values set out in the Commonwealth Charter through an informal assessment undertaken by the Secretary-General".
According to norms, the Secretary General would consult with member countries, and if there is agreement, invite Maldives to make a formal application, presenting evidence of functioning democratic processes and popular support for rejoining the Commonwealth. Sources said the Gambia re-joined the Commonwealth in February and Zimbabwe applied to re-join the organisation in May, 2018. External Affairs Minister Dr Jaishankar made a three-day visit to London, United Kingdom to attend the meeting. He also held bilateral meetings with his counterparts from the UK and some other Commonwealth member countries, a statement from the Ministry of External Affairs said. The Commonwealth Foreign Affairs Ministers Meeting undertook a review of implementation of the mandates of CHOGM 2018 and held discussions on the CHOGM 2020 to be held at Kigali in Rwanda in June next year.
Dr Jaishankar also called for fast-tracking of the process of re-admission of Maldives to the Commonwealth.
At the meeting, Foreign Ministers adopted the 70th anniversary Affirmation.
They agreed on the recommendations submitted by the Board of Governance after "assiduously deliberating" on two High-Level Group reports prepared in accordance with mandate given by the Heads at CHOGM 2015 were considered.
The participation of India at Ministerial level is a reaffirmation of the importance that India attaches to the Commonwealth, the statement said. External Affairs Minister also had bilateral discussions with his UK counterpart, Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt. The two ministers agreed to bring the entire gamut of India-UK bilateral relations into sharper focus.
He thanked his UK counterpart for British Government's support to Prime Minister Modi's initiative to build a global Coalition of Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI). Dr Jaishankar also held separate bilateral talks with Foreign Affairs Ministers of Australia Marise Payne, Canada's Christina Alexandra "Chrystia" and MoS Foreign Affairs of Bangladesh Md Shahriar Alam and covered a wide range of bilateral issues.
During the visit, Dr Jaishankar also interacted with a large number of MPs, Lords and key representatives of think tanks and media to exchange views on a range of issues to find ways and means to further cement the multifaceted India – UK ties, the statement said. UNI