Kamalesh Sharma on home visit after six months

October 15th, 2008 - 9:36 am ICT by IANS  

Manmohan SinghLondon, Oct 15 (IANS) Kamalesh Sharma is to visit India Oct. 16-21 on his first official trip home since taking over as Commonwealth Secretary-General six month ago.During his stay, Sharma will meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and other members of the government, speak to industry representatives and attend the Commonwealth Youth Games in Pune.

Sharma was India’s High Commissioner to Britain for four years before taking up the present assignment in April this year. In the months before his election in November 2007 Sharma, India’s candidate for the job of secretary-general, toured some 40 of the Commonwealth’s 53 member-states as he lobbied governments around the world.

Sharma did get to spend some time in India - apparently brainstorming Commonwealth issues - just before taking up the new assignment.

Since taking over in April, he has toured a large number of nations - but not India.

Sharma will begin his visit as the guest of honour at the closing ceremony of the 3rd Commonwealth Youth Games Oct. 18 before flying to New Delhi for meetings with Manmohan Singh, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Finance Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram, and Minister of State for Youth and Sports M S Gill.

He will also call on Vice-President Hamid Ansari, Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee, and the Leader of the Opposition L K Advani of the Bharatiya Janata Party.

The Commonwealth secretariat in London said Sharma will discuss progress made on key activities agreed by leaders at their summit last year.

These include building respect and understanding between those of different faith, ethnicity and language; reforming the global - particularly financial - institutions; and progress on meeting the challenge of climate change.

Sharma will also discuss developments in South Asia, in particular Commonwealth work in the area of governance and democracy.

Also figuring on his agenda will be discussions on how Commonwealth member-states could mark the association’s 60th anniversary year in 2009, and talks with Indian business leaders.

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