The Commonwealth is a free association of sovereign independent states. It numbered 52 members in Feb. 2017. With a membership of over 2bn. people, it represents around 30% of the world’s population. There is no charter, treaty or constitution; the association is expressed in co-operation, consultation and mutual assistance for which the Commonwealth Secretariat is the central co-ordinating body.
Origin.The Commonwealth was first defined by the Imperial Conference of 1926 as a group of ‘autonomous Communities within the British Empire, equal in status, in no way subordinate one to another in any aspect of their domestic or external affairs, though united by a common allegiance to the Crown, and freely associated as members of the British Commonwealth of Nations’. The basis of the association changed from one owing allegiance to a common Crown, and the modern Commonwealth was born in 1949 when the member countries accepted India’s intention of becoming a republic at the same time as...
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