LONDON: India will double its contribution to the Commonwealth fund for technical cooperation, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced as he vowed to provide tailor-made developmental assistance to small island states.
The prime minister, during his interventions at the executive session of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) here, also highlighted the need for capacity building of small states and small island developing states that are part of the Commonwealth.
India is going to help these small island states and coastal states in capacity building through training programmes at the National Institute Of Oceanography in Goa, Ruchi Ghanashyam, Secretary (West) in the Ministry of External Affairs, told reporters during a briefing here.
The main issues discussed at yesterday's session were strengthening democracy and the rule of law, the state of the international trading system, achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and climate action, and security issues faced by the Commonwealth countries.
In his interventions, the prime minister highlighted a number of important issues, including the need for working together for achieving SDGs and cooperation on climate action, Ghanashyam said.
The main announcements made by the prime minister at the summit included doubling India's contribution to the Commonwealth fund for technical cooperation, she said without giving any figures of India's current contribution.
The Prime Minister also said India would also take part in small projects for assisting Commonwealth countries through its permanent mission in New York.
"We are also doubling our contribution to the Commonwealth offices of small states in New York and Geneva which would help them enhance their capacity in dealing with multilateral issues," Ghanashyam said.
The prime minister also announced that with the help of the BCCI, India would organise cricket training for 30 young boys and 30 young girls under the age of 16.
"The cross-cutting issues within the Commonwealth are around youth and gender.
In that context, cricket being a unique game much played within the Commonwealth, with the help of BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket in India) we offered 30 boys and 30 girls the chance to come to India, train in our world class facilities and help lay the network for the future generation of the Commonwealth," the MEA said.
The thrust of the prime minister's interventions was on providing tailor-made assistance to small states and small island developing states, said Rudrendra Tandon, Joint Secretary, MEA.
"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 the Commonwealth increase its focus on developing country priorities," the MEA said.