UK visa, invite for Narendra Modi soon?Top Stories

March 21, 2013 11:03
UK visa, invite for Narendra Modi soon?

Visiting British Prime Minister David Cameron which has been accurately learnt to have informed his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh about his government's intention to grant visa to Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi to visit London in or around the month of May.

According to a source close to the developments, Modi's visa was mentioned in the meeting on Tuesday between the two prime ministers. The UK has been showing signs of warming up to the BJP's emerging prime ministerial candidate and it formed a partnership with the Vibrant Gujarat summit last month. As a result, there was even some process of consideration that Cameron might "bump into" Modi during his recent India visit, but that was not to be. Rather, it has been decided that a team of British MPs, who will be coming to Gujarat shortly with a business delegation while they would invite Modi to visit London.

Moreover, the change in policy, after the visa refusal to be a doctrine in 2005 on account of Modi's alleged complicity in the 2002 riots, comes at a time when Cameron's Conservative Party would like to keep Gujarati votes. In fact, there are an estimated 850,000 Gujaratis out of around 1.5 million people of Indian origin in UK, and could influence some seats in the December 2013 elections.

According to the official line, as Cameron spelled out within his group, is that it makes sense to engage with Modi without endorsing him at the moment.

Fact-fully, Modi had last visited London in August 2003 — but that was without diplomatic protocol while this time he will be visiting in his official capacity as chief minister for which Manmohan Singh will have to give him clearance.

Furthermore, Modi is known to have invitations from the Conservative Friends of India, Friends of BJP and a group of MPs from the European Union to visit London. Aside from the main subject of attention all programmes are scheduled for May.

Now, the clearance is awaited!

(AW:Samrat Biswas)

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