Sushma Swaraj leaves for Malta to attend CHOGM Summit

New Delhi: External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Thursday, Nov 26 embarked on a visit to Malta to attend the Commonwealth Summit beginning tomorrow which is likely to focus on combating terrorism and violent extremism as well as tackling climate change.

The Summit of the 53-member bloc, born out of the British empire, comes two weeks after the deadly terror attack in Paris and it is expected to deliberate extensively on finding effective ways to counter terrorism and radicalisation.

India is Commonwealth’s biggest member country and Swaraj will articulate India’s position on a number of key issues at the Summit which is likely to be attended by more than 30 heads of state and government.

“Adding Global Value, with the Commonwealth! EAM @SushmaSwaraj departs for the CHOGM Summit in Malta,” External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup tweeted.

The three-day long Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) is also going to discuss a range of issues relating to climate change and it will try to drum up political support before the Paris Summit.

A special Executive Session on Climate Change will discuss various issues to tackle climate change with particular focus on producing a unified commitment by the Commonwealth countries at the Paris summit.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon and France’s foreign minister Laurent Fabius are likely to attend the session. CHOGM is held after every two years and the theme for this year’s meeting is Adding Global Value.

The Summit is also likely to deliberate on issues relating to trade and commerce and migration among others.
In 2013, the then Prime Minister of India Manmohan Singh did not participate in the CHOGM summit held in Colombo in view of opposition by parties in Tamil Nadu as well as a section in Congress over alleged human rights abuses by the host during the 26-year civil war.

The Commonwealth countries are home to around 2.2 billion people of which over 60 per cent are under the age of 30.
The grouping includes some of the world’s largest, smallest, richest and poorest countries. Thirty-one of its members are small states, many of them island nations.

The Summit, likely to be attended by Queen Elizabeth II, will also deliberate on ways to tackle radicalisation and extremism.

Malta, a Southern European island country comprising an archipelago in the Mediterranean Sea, is hosting the CHOGM for the second time.