Sir James Bevan KCMG, the UK High Commissioner in New Delhi, has given another excellent speech (see previous), on this occasion to mark the official birthday of the Queen.
He used the opportunity to "celebrate Britain, India and the partnership between our two great countries" and comments on our peculiarities and similarities such as the British penchants for queueing, apologising and discussing the weather.
However it is not his way with words or witty observations that really mark him out as one of the best champions of our bilateral and Commonwealth relations but the fact that he understands our linkages far better than many who focus on governments when they discuss foreign policy. This is illustrated in his closing words:
"I believe in Britain. I believe in India. And I believe in our partnership. It is a partnership that will not ultimately be forged by governments, diplomats or institutions but by people: by the warm, close personal ties between the individual citizens of our two great countries."
This is precisely the message Commonwealth Exchange seeks to promote: that it is the 2.3 billion citizens of the Commonwealth, not the 53 governments, that really matter. It is through them trading, talking, and exchanging ideas and cultures, that we will really prosper in the 21st Century.
You can read the full speech here.