London comes calling Modi, UK praises Gujarat CM

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Ahmedabad, Jan 11: London came calling Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and it did it in high decibels, accompanied by plenty of symbolism.

British High Commissioner to India James Bevan and UK India Business Council chairperson Patricia Hewitt put in the stamp of approval of UK after about a decade of boycott of Modi. Britain had declared Modi 'persona non-grata' after the 2002 communal violence in which three British Muslims were also killed.

Last year, British Foreign Secretary William Hague had announced London's willingness to re-connect with the BJP leader. Friday's show at Vibrant Gujarat by top British diplomats is perhaps first major endorsement for Modi from the western world.

Narendra Modi

The British delegation of over 70 participants and 50 companies from engineering, chemicals, infrastructure, health care and management services sectors is perhaps one of biggest contingent to participate in Vibrant Gujarat. The UK is also hosting seminars to promote skills, education and technology transfer.

Speaking to media, Bevan went to an extent of calling himself "son of Gujarat" by virtue of his family origins in Leicester, a town he said had the largest population of Gujaratis after Gujarat itself.

Even Hewitt linked herself to Gujarat when she disclosed that she was a Member of Parliament from Leicester (West).

According to Bevan, Britain cannot have a partnership with India without developing a 'closer' relationship with Gujarat because of its "business-friendly environment and a strong entrepreneurial culture".

Hewitt praised Gujarat for having maintained a near double digit growth rate in the last ten years which was more than that of China.

"I visited Ahmedabad long, long ago. Ahmedabad has transformed in 10 years. I never thought I would see such astonishing growth. Gujarat has become India's number one business state," Hewitt said.

Now that the United Kingdom has removed its reservation about Modi, its biggest ally the US should not have much of objections or complaints against Modi.

OneIndia News

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