Many complementarities between Gujarat, UK:High Commissioner

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British High Commr meets Narendra Modi
Ahmedabad, Oct 22: The British government is keen to engage with Gujarat as there are a lot of complementarities between the state and United Kingdom, British High Commissioner to India James Bevan said today.

Addressing newspersons here after a meeting with Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, the high commissioner noted that the areas of collaboration include infrastructure, energy, urban planning and hi tech manufacturing.

Bevan said that the UK is keen to strengthen its existing trade ties with the state. To a specific question about whether his country's decision to end the ten-year boycott of Gujarat could have an impact on the forthcoming Assembly elections, he averred that it is not an endorsement of the state government but rather an attempt to normalise relations.

Referring to the three British nationals who were killed during the 2002 Gujarat riots, the high commissioner said that he had sought justice for the victims' families.

On Oct 11, the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office had stated: "We want to support human rights and good governance in the state. We also want to provide the best possible support for British nationals who live in, work in or visit Gujarat; and to the many Gujaratis who now make up one of the most successful and dynamic communities in the UK."

Narendra Modi had reacted by describing the move as "Better late than never". He tweeted: "Der aaye, durasta aaye!! I welcome UK govt's step for active engagement & strengthening relations with Gujarat. God is Great."

The BJP too hailed the resumption of diplomatic relations between Gujarat and the UK. The party pointed out that the state had witnessed all round development in the past ten years and no communal disturbances were reported from anywhere.

Several countries have a robust relationship with Gujarat and Modi has already visited most of them, the BJP added.

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