Modi’s three day visit to the UK will be momentous and historic with numerous exciting events. His visit will occur just after a month of China’s President Xi Jinping’s visit to UK.
From the November 12-14, Bharateeya Prime Minister Narendra Modi will make his first trip to the United Kingdom, before attending the G20 Leader’s Summit in Antalya. The trip falls during the auspicious time of Deepavali. The excitement which has been build up to the Prime Minister’s visit is being witnessed throughout the Bharateeya diaspora.
The Prime Minister has a tightly packed schedule. His first day will envisage meeting with United Kingdom (UK) Prime Minister David Cameron at 10 Downing Street before visiting Mahatma Gandhi’s statue in Parliament Square, which was unveiled in March this year. The two leaders will then attend a reception at the Houses of Parliament hosted by the Speaker followed by a banquet in Guildhall hosted by the Lord Mayor of London.
On the second day, he will be having lunch with HM Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace before attending the much-awaited Olympic style reception at Wembley Stadium. The reception ‘UKWelcomesModi’ will be organised by the Europe India Forum who have already registered more than 60,000 applications from over 250 cities and towns in the UK.
In addition to the Bharateeya Prime Minister’s landmark speech, the reception will consist of the best of British Bharateeya talent and Bollywood song and dance. The PM Modi keynote speech will be followed by what is expected to be the country’s largest fireworks display tying in with the celebration of Deepavali. ‘UKWelcomesModi’ will be the largest reception any foreign head of government has ever received in the UK, in addition to being the largest an Bharateeya Prime Minister has ever received anywhere outside Bharat. The 2011 Office for National Statistics report listed the Bharateeya community as the largest ethnic community in the UK, most of who will be out in full force to greet Narendra Modi.
The final day of Prime Minister Modi’s visit will consist of unveiling a statue of Basaveshwara who is a 12th century Bharateeya philosopher. The statue will be unveiled on the banks of the River Thames. Basaveshwara attempted to create a casteless society and fought against caste and religious discrimination. Following the theme of supporting those who fought against discrimination, Prime Minister Modi will also inaugurate the Ambedkar House museum in North London. The Ambedkar House was recently acquired by the Bharateeya Government and was home to Dr BR Ambedkar in the 1920s when he was a student. Dr Ambedkar was an architect of the Bharateeya Constitu-tion and challenged the caste system as well as British rule in Bharat.
There is no doubt that the Prime Minister’s three day visit to the UK will be momentous and historic with numerous exciting events crammed into his itinerary. The visit will also provide an opportunity to build on the UK and Bharat’s existing economic relationship which was strengthened following Chancellor George Osborne’s trip to Bharat last July to attract more Bharateeya investment into the UK. According to a report published by the UK Trade and Industry, in June 2015, investments from Bharat increased by 65 per cent making it the third largest source of FDI in the UK behind the US and France. Bharat invests more in the UK than the rest of the European Union (EU) combined and is one of Britain’s biggest job creators. Last year, Bharateeya investment helped 122 new investment projects and created 7,730 new jobs in UK. UK is the largest G20 investor in Bharat and last year invested close to $1.9 billion in Bharat. In response to Prime Minister Modi’s ‘Make in India’ initiative, the UK launched a campaign to celebrate and inspire collaborations between the UK and Bharat with Prime Minister David Cameron ardently supporting the initiative. Modi’s visit to the UK will no doubt provide a platform to build upon ‘Make in India’ projects already in place, in addition to starting a dialogue prior to the leader’s G20 trip.
The recent statement by Moody’s Investors Service is illustrative of the fact that Bharat, under Modi’s leadership, has become one of the world’s key economic players. The statement forecasts that Bharat will have the highest growth rate of 7-7.5 per cent among G20 economies in 2015 and 2016. With the Chinese stock market crash this year and its weaker GDP growth rate, there is huge potential for Bharat to speed ahead. Modi’s visit will occur just after a month of China’s President Xi Jinping’s visit to the UK.
While the majority of the UK population is eager to welcome the Bharateeya Prime Minister, there are the unfortunate few who have ensured that they have fully capitalised on the biased media outlets to voice their unreasonable concerns. Labour MP for Coventry South, Jim Cunningham, has tabled a Parliamentary Early Day Motion (EDM) titled “Humanitarian Situation in India”. Instead of raising real humanitarian issues in Bharat, the EDM focuses on separatist prisoners, Jammu & Kashmir (however failing to allude to the fact that it has been ethnically cleansed of Hindus) and the BBC documentary India's Daughter that portrays Bharat as a backward misogynic rape nation. Scottish National Party leader, Alex Salmond, and the newly elected Labour Party leader, Jeremy Corbyn, have both signed the EDM. This isn’t the first time Corbyn has shown his prejudice towards the Bharateeya Prime Minister as in 2013, he signed EDM 479 to reinstitute the ban on Prime Minister Modi from entering the UK.
Under the previous Labour party Government, Narendra Modi, the then Chief Minister of Gujarat, was banned from entering UK due to his alleged role in the 2002 Gujarat riots. Despite being cleared by a Special Investigation Team appointed by the honourable Supreme Court of Bharat, in flagrant disregard of the sovereignty of legal institutions in Bharat, the hate campaign against Prime Minister Modi has continued. Those who have tried to malign Modi with the Gujarat riots have failed to explain the fact that he had been democratically elected as the Chief Minister of Gujarat for four consecutive terms with an absolute majority.
In her book Modinama, Madhu Kishwar speaks with Zafar Sareshwala, a Gujarati Muslim who suffered financially during the Gujarat riots. He was a fierce critic of Narendra Modi and had planned to file a case against him in the International Court of Justice. However after a two and a half hour meeting with Narendra Modi and London-based Islamic scholar Maulana Isha Mansoori in 2013, Sareshwala’s views were changed. Sareshwala states “Modi did his damned best to control the riots with all the means available to him. This at a time when he was new to his role as Chief Minister.” During the meeting, Narendra Modi gave Sareshwala his personal phone number and promised that he would always be available and will give him justice. Thirteen years on from the Gujarat riots, people are starting to educate themselves of the facts instead of blindly believing the lies and distortions fed to them via the media.
Narendra Modi will be the first Bharateeya Prime Minister to visit the UK in nearly a decade, as the last official visit was Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit in 2006. Narendra Modi’s great leadership, his honourable characteristics and his economic initiatives have led to a huge admiration and surge in pride and patriotism within the Bharateeya community both outside and inside Bharat. Bharateeya born 85-year-old London resident, Haqiqat Rai, says “it’s an honour to have a real hardworking Prime Minister for the country visiting us who is a son of the soil”.
Dhruv Chhatralia, international mergers and acquisitions lawyer, author of 19 books on Hinduism says “I congratulate Shri Narendra Modi both for his love and devotion to Bharat and for everything he has done to take it to new heights. He is a true karma yogi and has provided future generations with a role model who has surmounted the greatest obstacles to fulfil his vision of an economically prosperous and spiritually rich Bharat.”
Chairman of the City Hindus Network, Prinal Nathwani, states that “it is true to say there is considerable excitement amongst the community about the upcoming visit of PM Modi, not only because of the economic benefits it will bring but also because it will give the community the chance to celebrate its history and background, and will be a reminder of the contribution that Indians can make to the world”.
Prerna Lau Sian (The writer is Barrister, writer and broadcaster on Nusound Radio 92FM. She is also media representative in the organising committee ‘UK Welcomes Modi’)