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Charles: Commonwealth diversity can help tackle challenges of globalisation

The heir to the throne sat down for talks with India’s prime minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday night.

The Commonwealth’s diversity of people, cultures and religions can help tackle the “one size fits all approach to globalisation”, the Prince of Wales has said.

Charles spoke passionately about the potential of the family of nations to make a difference on the major challenges facing the world, in his final speech as his tour of south-east Asia and India with the Duchess of Cornwall came to a close.

The heir to the throne sat down for talks with India’s prime minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi on Wednesday night and he described in his address how the pair discussed the “crucial” role India can play.

In a lighter moment the Prince affectionately referred to Camilla as “mehabooba” – the Urdu word for darling – and got a laugh from invited guests at the residence of Britain’s High Commissioner to India, Sir Dominic Asquith.

Charles highlighted how London is due to host the next gathering of Commonwealth leaders in April and said the “sheer diversity” of the body is one its greatest strengths.

With the UK leaving the EU, Britain’s relationship with its Commonwealth partners – in terms of trade, security and investment – will take on greater importance.

The Prince said: “This diversity is to be celebrated and cherished, not only because it is so central to our identities and our sense of belonging, but also, if I may say so, because it offers us the best hope of addressing the most pressing challenges of our time.

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Charles and Camilla meet Gurkha soldiers during a visit to India Gate for a wreath laying ceremony, in New Delhi (Yui Mok/PA)

“A one-size-fits-all approach to globalisation simply cannot be the answer and will, I am convinced, lead us into a sterile, monocultural homogeneity that creates ever greater problems whilst simultaneously robbing us of the solutions to address them.”

Charles’s 11-day trip had been billed as a major Commonwealth tour, with stops in Singapore, Brunei and Malaysia, and with the heir to the throne speaking a number of times about his passion for the family of nations.

He also stressed the importance of India’s position in the institution, as it is home to 60% of the Commonwealth’s population of 2.3 billion.

He said the Commonwealth offered “an unparalleled means to build bridges between our countries and fairer societies within them so that understanding and aspiration might be the inheritance of the generations that follow us”.

He added: “The world can learn so much from India today, as indeed it has done through history, and, ladies and gentlemen, as I have done throughout my own life.”

Charles concluded by saying “All these bonds between our people are of course emblematic of the Commonwealth itself.

“The challenges we face together and the aspirations we share make it as relevant and as necessary as it has ever been.

“It offers us all the hope that by working together and drawing strength from our diversity we might secure a safer, more prosperous and fairer future for our children and our grandchildren.”

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