Brickbats and bouquets for Narendra Modi during UK visit

Modi was mobbed by supporters from the Indian Diaspora as well as people protesting against the series of recent rapes in India when he reached Downing Street.

Published: 18th April 2018 08:59 PM  |   Last Updated: 19th April 2018 12:30 AM   |  A+A-

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May holds a bilateral meeting with Narendra Modi. (Photo | AP)

Express News Service

NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi had a breakfast meeting with British Prime Minister Theresa May on Wednesday, where he reassured her that Brexit would not dilute the bilateral relations between the two nations.

Modi was greeted by British foreign secretary Boris Johnson on his arrival in London from Stockholm late Tuesday, and the two had a brief chat before Modi left for his hotel.

On Wednesday, Modi was mobbed by supporters from the Indian Diaspora as well as people protesting against the series of recent rapes in India when he reached Downing Street. Some held placards which said "Modi go home" and "We stand against Modi's agenda of hate and greed."

The protesters included members of the Left-wing South Asia Solidarity Group (SASG), CasteWatchUK and Kashmiri and Sikh separatists, as well women and child rights activists. The SASG describes Modi as an “avowed fascist and admirer of (Adolf) Hitler,” and accuses him of “overseeing genocidal attacks and mob lynching against religious minorities”.

Action for Elephants, an NGO, will also hold a rally outside the Indian High Commission on Friday to protest against the “horrific treatment” of temple elephants in India. “India is a ‘republic of fear’. The UK must keep the pressure on Modi” was the headline of an opinion piece in The Guardian Wednesday.

A Downing Street spokesperson said the two PMs discussed terrorism, the chemical weapons attacks in Salisbury and Syria, cooperation on legal matters, which led to speculation that this could expedite the deportation of people like fugitive liquor baron Vijay Mallya.

After the meeting, May declared that Britain and India would sign £1billion worth of new commercial deals after Brexit.

“Our trade partnership with India is showing how we can remove barriers to increase trade between our two countries,” she said, before releasing a joint statement.

Modi on his part expressed happiness over the British decision to join the International Solar Alliance, which he had formally launched in New Delhi earlier this year with French President Emmanuel Macron. Modi will also attend in the Commonwealth heads of government meeting in London Thursday and the subsequent “retreat” on Friday.

Later in the day he visited an exhibition on 5000 Years of Science and Innovation followed by a Living Bridge themed Reception, where he was received by Prince Charles. He also unveiled a bust of Lingayat philosopher Basaveshwara at Albert Embankment Gardens.

He also visited the Francis Crick Institute and attended the India-UK CEO Forum; and a showcase of India UK Collaboration in Science and Technology with May. Then after a call on Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham palace, he addressed a Diaspora event titled ‘Bharat ki Baat, Sabke Saath’, which was telecast live.


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