External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar arrived here on Wednesday for a day-long UK visit to attend the 19th Commonwealth Foreign Affairs Ministers’ Meeting which is set to discuss the future strategy of the grouping.
The minister will be joined by his counterparts from the other 52 member-countries of the Commonwealth at the meeting, to be chaired by UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt as part of Britain’s term as the current Chair-in-Office of the Commonwealth.
According to senior officials, Jaishankar’s UK schedule is extremely tight and a bilateral meeting with Hunt is to be scheduled if time permits.
The Foreign Affairs Ministers’ Meeting is set to discuss the future strategy and direction of the Commonwealth as the organisation celebrates its 70th anniversary.
Potential reforms of the Commonwealth Secretariat are also on the agenda of the talks.
Media freedom is a key theme for this year’s summit as Hunt co-hosts the first Global Conference for Media Freedom in London alongside fellow Commonwealth nation Canada.
Hunt, who is currently going head to head with former UK foreign secretary Boris Johnson in a leadership contest to replace Theresa May as British Prime Minister, presented the keynote address at the start of the two-day media freedom conference, where India is set to be represented by the External Affairs Minister at the launch.
“A free press is the cornerstone of any democratic society and essential for the protection and promotion of human rights. I look forward to two days of in-depth conversations on the current state of media freedom and on the practical steps we can take to bring about positive change in our own countries and around the world,” Hunt said.
He was joined by Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland and Amal Clooney, the human rights lawyer who was appointed the UK Foreign Secretary’s Special Envoy on Media Freedom.