Indo-UK ties soar in 2015 with Gandhi statue, Modi visit

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London, Dec 22: Indo-UK ties were vitalised in 2015 with a series of 'big ticket' developments like the installing of Mahatma Gandhi's statue at London's iconic Parliament Square and Prime Minister Narendra Modi's maiden visit to the country, the first by an Indian premier in nearly a decade.

During his visit to the UK, Modi held talks on key issues with his British counterpart David Cameron who had a special year as he won a second term by a thumping mandate.

Indo-UK ties soar in 2015

The year saw 'big ticket' developments that strengthened the Indo-UK relationship, which Cameron termed as a "new dynamic modern partnership".

In March, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley joined Cameron at a sombre ceremony to unveil the bronze statue of Mahatma Gandhi, the leader of the Indian national movement, based on a picture of him on the steps of Downing Street in 1931.

Cameron said that by "putting Gandhi in this famous square we are giving him an eternal home in our country".

It went a long way in winning over the undecided British Indian voters in the May 8 general elections, that gave Cameron a second term as Britain's Prime Minister -– this time with a decisive Conservative party majority and without the coalition constraints of the 2010 polls.

The Gandhi statue remained the focal point later in the year when Prime Minister Modi arrived in London for a three- day visit to the UK on November 12. He was given a grand welcome, which included a guard of honour near Downing Street.

His packed schedule included tea with Queen Elizabeth II and a private dinner with Cameron at his countryside residence Chequers. "I think the highlight for me was having dinner together at Chequers and the ability to talk very privately about the challenges we both face.

We had very good discussions," Cameron said following the visit, which also included a mega reception at the famous Wembley Stadium in London where Modi addressed an estimated 60,000 largely Indian-origin audience who had travelled from different parts of the UK.

During the visit, India and the UK signed deals worth 9-billion pounds as they inked a civil nuclear pact and decided to collaborate in defence and cyber security besides launching a railway rupee bond in London market.


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