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On a recent Commonwealth tour of Singapore, Brunei and Malaysia, Their Royal Highnesses The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall also made a flying visit to India. I had the privilege of accompanying them on this part of their trip. This was my fourth time accompanying His Royal Highness to India, and I was delighted we were able to showcase the ways in which the work of the British Asian Trust has developed over the years.

The British Asian Trust was a key component of a special meeting between The Prince and Prime Minster Narendra Modi, during a moment that highlights the growing relationship between the UK and India, the largest nation in the Commonwealth. It felt like an historic moment in which two influential figures from very different backgrounds came together to discuss the role of the Commonwealth, united by a vision to see their two countries build on their existing thriving relationship. It was also fantastic to see the two discuss the ‘living bridge’ between the two nations, the ties forged through the dynamic diaspora community in the UK.

Even though the Delhi weather was challenging, we were delighted to arrange a special session with a very excited group of school children, supported through our education programme. It was fantastic to see the confidence with which the children posed some tough questions for their Royal guest!

Following this, His Royal Highness joined a high-level round table discussion on social finance, attended by the World Bank, DFID and other supporters and partners. At a time when the Charity Sector is abuzz with discussion around social finance and impact investing, the British Asian Trust has been at the forefront of this, with the development of our $10 million Development Impact Bond (DIB). The DIB will improve the quality of learning for 200,000 marginalised children in India.

His Royal Highness managed also somehow in his 24 hours in Delhi to attend an event at the British Council for the UK India Year of Culture, a reception for the Elephant Family, wreath laying at India Gate, a meeting with the Indian Finance Minister, a roundtable discussion on CSR, a speech at the Silver Jubilee of BYST, a Commonwealth Reception and a visit to the High Commission Compound to meet the families – all in all quite a full trip!

The Prince of Wales’s dedication to the region is truly remarkable and so very heartfelt. Not only has his vision for a more prosperous South Asia given rise to the work of the British Asian Trust, his continued engagement with the diaspora propels us in new and exciting directions. I look forward to future visits where we can showcase the scale and impact we have managed to achieve.

 

By Hitan Mehta, Executive Director

 

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