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Will India determine the Commonwealth's future especially in wake of Brexit?
Nearly one-third of the world's population lives in 53 countries of the Commonwealth. Its purpose is to work for democracy, stability, security, and prosperity of its member countries.

Commonwealth members do more business with each other and they are also involved in other groups where they have more engagement. The Commonwealth countries share 8-9 per cent of their exports with the United Kingdom only.

Now that the UK is set to exit from the European Union, the need for Commonwealth can be reconsidered. This is the first time in the last 20 years that the UK is hosting a conference of Commonwealth nation heads, many people are also attributing it to Brexit, although this issue has not been included in the agenda of the Commonwealth meeting.

Experts are debating on whether Commonwealth will meet Britain's expectations. There is not much enthusiasm in its member countries. Many countries consider Britain's colonial past to be part of it too. There is also reluctance from those countries that suffered slavery in the colonial period and are rethinking on why they once again should work under the leadership of that country.  However, there is a fact that the mutual business of these countries is about 800 billion US dollars. Commonwealth member countries have the freedom to trade freely among themselves and the countries take advantage of each other's resources.

Many people believe that if the role of emerging economies increases, then this group can achieve value for itself. Partnership with fast-growing economies like India, Australia, New Zealand and Canada can make it successful. Britain may also have some idea on it.

India has been given special significance at this meeting. The invitation to Indian Prime Minister to join the meeting itself was sent by the Queen to Prince Charles. Not only this, Narendra Modi is the only leader with whom Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May has a bilateral dialogue. Many experts also believe that if the Commonwealth is to be filled with energy then countries like India will have to take a decisive role. If the Commonwealth is to be successful, then India will have to play a bigger role in it.

The Commonwealth is traditionally led by the Queen of Britain, and now that she is 92-years-old, talks on who would be her successor are also underway. The problem of the Commonwealth is that in the past seven decades, it did not get as much importance in the international business world. India itself does not have much interest. The country's first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru had certainly showed interest in it, and considering Pakistan's presence in it, he deemed it necessary, but later, the Prime Ministers did not pay much attention to it.

At present, when India looks restless to increase its role at the international level, it is possible that Britain's initiative will make it more active in this group, but it will also have problems. It will be difficult for many countries to cope up with India's growing role; Pakistan can be the biggest example of this.

The Commonwealth countries have a similarity in the administration, and all these countries speak English too. For these reasons, business is easy for them. Although these countries have links with the European Union and other business groups, and there may be a problem for them after Brexit. There are many countries of Commonwealth like Mauritius, Saint Lucia and Botswana who do business with the EU through the UK. London has been playing the role of the gate for them but now all this will change. It will also have an impact on Indian companies. Many changes will depend on that will happen after Britain's exit from the European Union. The relations of other countries will also change with the European Union due to Brexit. Britain has tried to negotiate directly with India but India and other countries have said that they should outline their relationship for the first time from the European Union. There is also a bit of confusion for Britain too.

The world's attention will go towards the Commonwealth when it will come out with a comprehensive reform of its new agenda. Experts believe that the needs of this time are different and according to them, this organization will have to make changes. India and other emerging economies can give it a new direction.

How expensive will Brexit be for the United Kingdom?

Both sides have time until March 2019 to finalize Britain's EU-related conditions. There is a question about the future of three million Europeans living in Britain. 

  • In the UK's National Health Service (NHS) 62,000 people work in EU countries. Most foreign workers have begun to leave Britain. According to UK lawmakers, without these employees the NHS will be stall within 24 hours. 
  • 90 per cent of veterinarians working in the UK come from 27 countries of the European Union. Now, these people are also preparing to return from Britain.
  • So far, skilled workers from different countries of the European Union have worked in UK's farms. 65 per cent of the employees came from the EU. But due to Brexit, these employees will not be available anymore.
  • Many European products will become expensive in the UK as soon as the Brexit is implemented. Dairy products, fruits, vegetables, processed food and wine will also become expensive if going out of the single tax market.
About the author: Rohit Dhyani is a senior journalist who has reported from across the world. He lives in New Delhi, India. He has reported extensively on international stories; issues of human rights and justice from different corners of India.His works have appeared in various international and Indian news publications. He has more than 7 years of experience in print and electronic media. His is a post graduate diploma holder in Journalism from the Indian Institute of Journalism and New Media affiliated with the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, New York.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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