In a rare gesture, King Charles III of the United Kingdom on January 3, 2023 held a telephone conversation with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and discussed India’s G-20 Presidency and “digital public goods”. Mr. Modi and King Charles III, who is expected to be coronated on May 6, also focused on the Commonwealth of Nations and ways to strengthen it further. According to a government statement, Mr. Modi conveyed his best wishes to the King for a “very successful reign”.
The Ministry of External Affairs in a press release: “A number of subjects of mutual interest were discussed during the call, including Climate Action, conservation of biodiversity, innovative solutions for financing energy-transition, etc. Prime Minister expressed his appreciation for His Majesty’s abiding interest and advocacy on these issues.”
It added: “Prime Minister briefed His Majesty on India’s priorities for its G20 Presidency, including propagation of digital public goods. He also explained the relevance of Mission LiFE - Lifestyle for Environment, through which India seeks to promote environmentally sustainable lifestyles.”
King Charles III and Queen Consort Camilla are known to champion environmentally sustainable lifestyles and traditional healing practices. The Queen Consort visited India on a private trip to Soukya, a high-end Ayurveda and Naturopathy based wellness retreat near Bengaluru in October 2022.
The late Queen Elizabeth II was not known to hold telephone conversations with foreign leaders. King Charles III last visited India as the Prince of Wales in November 2019.
India’s new High Commissioner to the U.K., Vikram Doraiswamy, met with King Charles III on December 8 and presented his credentials. He was the first Indian official to be received by the monarch after the demise of Queen Elizabeth II.
Mr. Modi recollected his meeting with Queen Elizabeth II after her demise, and said, “I had memorable meetings with Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II during my U.K. visits in 2015 and 2018. I will never forget her warmth and kindness.”
Mr. Modi met with the U.K.’s Prime Minister Rishi Sunak at the G-20 summit in Bali, and the two sides re-started negotiations for a trade pact in December 2022. The trade talks were stuck over differences regarding U.K. visas that India has been demanding, among other issues.