The biggest ever Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) gets underway in London this week and no leader will have a more significant impact or more rapturous a welcome than the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Thousands of Indians from right across the British Isles – members of what is arguably Britain’s most important migrant community – are set to descend on Parliament Square on Wednesday 18 April to give Mr Modi a suitably euphoric and colourful welcome to the UK.
The gathering is a reflection of the sense of optimism felt by a vast majority of Indians living abroad at the sense of hope and dynamism that Mr Modi has brought to the office of Prime Minister.
Indians, both at home and abroad, have been galvanized to view the Indian future with a great deal of optimism, despite the vast challenges Mr Modi continues to face.
That is the result of his numerous progressive initiatives – from his ‘Swatch Bharat’ cleanliness campaign and his drive for equal rights for women to economic policies like demonetisation and his crackdown on money laundering, not to mention the dramatically improved ease of doing business in India.
There is a great deal of pride at the manner in which Mr Modi has established India firmly in the global conscience – economically, socially and culturally.
And, above all, there is a greater sense of community and cohesion among Indians around the world to unite under Mr Modi’s doctrine ‘Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas’ (Collective Efforts, Inclusive Growth) to progress not only as individuals but as a nation, together.
Several community groups will be represented in Parliament Square – from women’s groups to religious organizations and those representing the vast array of ethnic groups that make up India’s kaleidoscopic demographic landscape.
Mr Modi will be cheered on and greeted by dance troupes, flash mobs and cultural celebrations while tea and Indian food will be distributed to all and sundry.
Many of those attending are thought to have applied for leave from work many weeks in advance and although there are no official statistics, the impact on economic activity is thought to be not inconsiderable!
And for once the weather will be on the side of the attendees as Wednesday is set to be the warmest April day in a decade.
India’s importance not only to the Commonwealth but to the wider world is evident by the fact that Mr Modi is scheduled to hold two bilateral meetings with Prime Minister Theresa May and will have a private audience with the Queen – the head of the Commonwealth.