- The Commonwealth is a voluntary association of 54 independent and equal countries (including India) in Africa, Asia, the Americas, Europe and the Pacific.
- It is home to 2.5 billion people, and includes both advanced economies and developing countries. 32 of the members are small states, including many island nations.
- The member governments have agreed to shared goals like development, democracy and peace.
- The Commonwealth’s roots go back to the British Empire. But today any country can join the modern Commonwealth. The last country to join the Commonwealth was Rwanda in 2009.
- Leaders of the Commonwealth countries meet every two years at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM).
Why in News?
- External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar represented India at the CHOGM Foreign Ministers’ plenary in Rwanda.