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'Always raise difficult issues': UK PM Boris Johnson on Jahangirpuri controversy

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London, Apr 22: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Thursday indicated that he would be raising ''difficult issues'' when he meets his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi in New Delhi on Friday.

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The difficult issues being referred to is likely to include the controversial demolition of some properties as part of an ''anti-encroachment'' drive by the BJP-ruled North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) in the Jahangirpuri area of north-west Delhi, days after communal clashes in the locality.

Always raise difficult issues: UK PM on Jahangirpuri controversy

Johnson was responding to questions from the UK media during a visit to a new bulldozer factory in Gujarat's Halol industrial area near Vadodara set up by British multinational JCB. ''We always raise the difficult issues, of course we do, but the fact is that India is a country of 1.35 billion people and it is democratic, it's the world's largest democracy," Johnson was quoted in the 'Guardian' newspaper as saying in response to questions.

The factory visit came under fire on social media over JCB equipment being involved in the "anti-encroachment" demolitions in Delhi, which activists have claimed targeted one particular religious community - an issue being considered by the Supreme Court. However, Johnson sought to highlight the new Halol plant as a "living, breathing incarnation of the umbilicus between the UK and India".

"This is a world-leading factory - 600,000 diggers a year coming from India, exported from India to 110 countries with British technology," he said.

The UK media also raised the issue of JCB chairman Anthony Bamford being a donor to Johnson's Conservative Party and whether the visit was motivated by that connection.

''No, he chose to go to the JCB factory because it is a very good illustration of UK business, working with India and the Indian government to benefit both the UK and India," Johnson's official spokesperson told the 'Guardian'.

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