Modi lands in UK to­day, deals worth £10-15bn may take off

DIPLO­MACY Prime min­is­ter to en­gage with Bri­tish PM David Cameron, have lunch with Queen El­iz­a­beth

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - FRONT PAGE - Pra­sun Son­walkar pra­sun.son­walkar@hin­dus­tan­

LON­DON: Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi will ar­rive in Lon­don on Thurs­day on a three­day visit, one that is likely to re­set re­la­tions be­tween In­dia and the United King­dom. It will be an In­dian prime min­is­ter’s first visit to Bri­tain in al­most a decade, af­ter Man­mo­han Singh’s trip in 2006.

In­dia and Bri­tain could an­nounce deals worth £10-15 bil­lion dur­ing the visit, with New Delhi seek­ing in­vest­ments for in­fra­struc­ture, es­pe­cially in rail­ways, and Bri­tain ex­pect­ing to sign ma­jor con­tracts in the de­fence and civil nu­clear en­ergy sec­tors. A deal to buy 20 more Hawk trainer air­craft is also ex­pected.

While the visit is ex­pected

to breathe new life into Indo-Bri­tish ties, it is also be­ing seen as a per­sonal tri­umph for Modi, who was boy­cotted by the UK af­ter the 2002 Gu­jarat ri­ots. How­ever, it was un­der Prime Min­is­ter David Cameron — with whom Modi will closely en­gage dur­ing the visit — that Bri­tain be­came the first western coun­try

to lift the boy­cott in 2012.

The visit is likely to have some sim­i­lar­i­ties with Modi’s last visit to Lon­don in 2003, when groups staged protests amid de­mands for his ar­rest. This time, too, sev­eral groups have planned protests against him.

How­ever, the text and the

con­text of Modi’s en­gage­ment with Bri­tain has changed since. He will now be much courted by the Bri­tish es­tab­lish­ment. His sched­ule also in­cludes a lunch with Queen El­iz­a­beth at the Buck­ing­ham Palace — a rare hon­our for a vis­it­ing In­dian prime min­is­ter.

Be­sides lunch with the Queen, an­other in­di­ca­tion of the host’s en­thu­si­asm is the fact that Cameron will be by Modi’s side at al­most ev­ery event on his itin­er­ary. He will also sit through Modi’s ad­dress to the di­as­pora at the Wem­b­ley Sta­dium. Bri­tain is home to an In­dian di­as­pora of 1.5 mil­lion.


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