On her visit to India, the Secretary-General travelled to the western state of Gujarat to pay her respects to two great leaders from Gujarat, Mahatma Gandhi and Sardar Patel.
Whilst in Gujarat, she met the Gujarati government to discuss her ideas for a Commonwealth Peace Prize in the name of Mahatma Gandhi and a Commonwealth Good Governance Fund in the name of Sardar Patel, to celebrate their contributions to peace and governance in India and across the Commonwealth.
The Secretary-General also visited the Gandhi Ashram at Sabarmati, where she learnt about Gandhi’s life at the Ashram, and in particular his commitment to social inclusion. At the Statue of Unity, the world’s tallest statue and an incredible feat of Indian engineering, the Secretary-General paid homage to Sardar Patel.
Patel is acknowledged as the architect of the new Indian administration following independence. His example of good governance is followed throughout the Commonwealth and is an inspiration to many.
During the visit the Secretary-General said, “It is a great pleasure to visit Gujarat to honour two great sons of this state, India and the Commonwealth. It was particularly moving for me to visit the Gandhi Ashram in the 150th year since his birth. At the Statue of Unity, I was in awe at what Sardar Patel achieved for India.
“I look forward to working with Governments of India and Gujarat on how we can recognize and celebrate the lives and work of Mahatma Gandhi and Sardar Patel across the Commonwealth.”
The Secretary-General was in India to speak at the Raisina dialogue with other world leaders and opinion formers. She also met with representatives of the Indian government, members of the Commonwealth family in India and visited Uttar Pradesh.