Glasgow Commonwealth Games 2014 will be declared open today (July 23) at a glittering ceremony at the famous Celtic Park in Glasgow (Scotland). We are currently having our vacations in Stockholm with our son Naresh and his family and would follow the Games with interest. It is more so as I lived in Scotland as Consul General of India in Edinburgh from 2007-2008. Since Glasgow has a large concentration of Indian community which is contributing positively to the economic and social life, I used to visit quite often in the course of my diplomatic duties and also for social interaction. Though Scotland is a part of the UK yet it has special status and powers under the constitutional arrangements. Unlike other federal systems, Scotland has its Minister of External Affairs and has stand alone membership of the Commonwealth and the EU while remaining a federate of the UK. Scotland under the leadership of First Minster Alex Salmond bagged the 2014 Commonwealth Games which further cemented its separate identity. The ongoing debate on the independence of Scotland would continue till the referendum on the issue in September, 2014. Glasgow already has world class sports facilities and civil infrastructure to host the prestigious event of Commonwealth Games.
I left Edinburgh in early 2009 on transfer to Minsk. Before my departure, I made a farewell call on Rt. Honourable Alex Salmond, First Minister of Scotland. I must register here that Alex Salmond is a good friend of India and as such gave me all due consideration and respect as the Consul General of India. I clearly remember that during my meeting with him he broached up the Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games and thanked me for India´s support to Scotland in the vote for Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games in Sri Lanka in 2007. I watched with interest the closing ceremony of 2010 Games in Delhi where the Flag and the Baton was handed over to First Minister Alex Salmond for the Glasgow Commonwealth Games 2014.