Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to hold bilateral meetings with the leaders of 10 nations, including with his counterparts from Bangladesh, Australia and the President of Seychelles, on the sidelines of the multilateral Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London on Thursday.
Modi will be interacting with Sheikh Hasina, their first meeting since the Bangladeshi Prime Minister’s visit to New Delhi last year.
The officials, however, indicated that no meeting or interaction has been requested or scheduled with the Pakistani Prime Minister, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, so far.
Some of the other world leaders expected to have one-on-one deliberations with Modi during the CHOGM include Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades and Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Michael Holness.
Gambian President Adama Barrow, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni and the President of Seychelles Danny Faure are also on the list.
The bilateral talks between Faure and Modi assumes significance after Seychelles ordered an inquiry into the leak of a highly classified agreement signed with India to develop infrastructure on Assumption Island, which lies southwest of the mainland of Mahe.
Modi is likely to interact with Gaston Browne, Prime Minister of Antigua & Barbua, Mauritian Prime Minister Pravind Kumar Jugnauth and Keith C Rowley, Prime Minister of Trinidad & Tobago.
“The summit offers ample opportunity for leaders to interact in meeting rooms for bilateral discussions on matters of mutual interest as well as cooperation over Commonwealth issues,” a senior official said.
The bilateral talks are scheduled as the formal heads of government meeting gets underway in London on Thursday following the formal launch by Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace.
An Indian Prime Minister is attending CHOGM, held every two years, after a hiatus of nearly a decade, having skipped CHOGMs in Perth, Colombo and Malta since 2009.
“In the multilateral space for us, the Commonwealth is a very unique multilateral grouping. It comprises of a very diverse set of 53 countries ranging from small island developing states to some of the most advanced industrialised countries of the world It has a very strong international voice particularly on developing country issues,” an MEA spokesperson said.
The executive session of the summit today will be followed by a retreat at Windsor Castle on Friday, when the leaders get together in an informal setting without any pre-set agenda or being accompanied by their top advisers.
(With inputs from PTI)