Terming the Commonwealth group as a storehouse of experience and knowledge, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today called upon it to pay urgent attention to terrorism and climate change.
"Terrorism, climate change and the preservation of our environment need our urgent attention," Singh said while addressing the 53rd Annual Commonwealth Parliamentary Association Conference here.
Reaffirming the country's deep and abiding commitment to the ideas and ideals of the Commonwealth, the Prime Minister said: "Of all the principles that have defined and motivated the Commonwealth, none is more important than our shared commitment to democracy, to an open society, to an open economy, to the rule of law and to fundamental human freedoms."
He added that in the 21st century, the Commonwealth would come to symbolize the hopes and aspirations of all humanity to live in an open society and an open economy.
The Commonwealth have the opportunity of creatively addressing the great challenges facing humankind today, Singh said, adding that the most important of these challenges is that of poverty and its social, economic, political and ecological consequences.
Earlier this morning, President Pratibha Patil inaugurated the 53rd CPA Conference.
Parliamentary Affairs, and Information and Broadcasting Minister Priyaranjan Dasmunsi is leading the Indian Parliamentary delegation at the conference.
Indian delegation will take part in various workshops in the next few days on the matters related to women empowerment, global warming, environment, women's role in Parliament, sustainable water development, Opposition's role in Parliamentary system among others.
Indian delegates will take part in all such workshops along with other Commonwealth delegates at the deliberations, which will conclude on September 28. This is for the fourth time that India is hosting the CPA Conference.
The CPA's mission is to promote the advancement of parliamentary democracy by enhancing knowledge and understanding of democratic governance. It seeks to build an informed parliamentary community and to further co-operation among its Parliaments and Legislatures.
This mission is achieved through a strategic plan covering Commonwealth fundamental principles; the functional independence of Parliament; professional development seminars and workshops; networking through conferences; technical assistance to individual Parliaments, and specialist information for a specialist community.
Active CPA Branches are in 169 national, state, provincial and territorial Parliaments, with a total membership of approximately 16,000 Parliamentarians.