PM to arrive in UK tomorrow, may face protesters

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is all set to arrive here tomorrow on a three-day visit to Britain during which he will have a hectic schedule that will start with talks with his British counterpart David Cameron who has described the trip as “extraordinary”. “I am excited by this visit. I am excited by what Prime Minister Modi is doing in India and I’m excited about the partnership that we can build together,” Cameron said. Describing Modi’s visit as “extraordinary”, Cameron said it was not simply about celebrating the economic ties but “actually building a thoroughly modern partnership between our two great countries”. Modi arrives here tomorrow afternoon and after talks with Cameron at 10 Downing Street he will address a joint press conference at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO).

A brief stop to pay tributes at the Mahatma Gandhi statue in Parliament Square will be followed by speeches at the Houses of Parliament and then at the Guildhall in the financial hub of London. His talks with Cameron will carry on at the British Prime Minister’s country residence of Chequers in Buckinghamshire, where he is being hosted overnight.

On Friday, Modi returns London for a CEOs round-table which is likely to include representatives from major British companies like Rolls-Royce and Vodafone. The pomp and ceremony attached to the visit is expected to include a special tricolour flypast by the Red Arrows Royal Air Force (RAF) Aerobatic Team over Buckingham Palace before the Prime Minister sits down for lunch with Queen Elizabeth II on Friday afternoon before making his way to Wembley Stadium in north London for the mega Diaspora reception.

He leaves for Ankara to attend the G20 summit on Saturday after inaugurating a new statue of 12th century philosopher Basaveshwara as well as a new Ambedkar memorial in London. A visit to the Tata Motors owned Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) factory in Solihull, in the West Midlands region of England, will be the last item on his UK agenda. “My visit to UK is the first Prime Ministerial visit in almost a decade. I have had the opportunity to meet Prime Minister David Cameron at various international forums and our meetings have been productive. Prime Minister Cameron is a good friend of India’s, and we in India have had the privilege of welcoming him thrice during his first term as Prime Minister,” Modi wrote in a Facebook post ahead of the visit.

Meanwhile, a number of groups have announced a “day of protest” tomorrow, coinciding with Modis visit. The “Modi Not Welcome” campaign by the Awaaz Network as well as a protest organised by CasteWatchUK will assemble outside Downing Street and then move on to Parliament Square. Another group of protesters are expected to assemble outside Wembley Stadium, demanding that the Indian government lift the ban on the documentary ‘India s Daughter’ by British filmmaker Leslie Udwin. “An appropriate policing plan is in place. We are in dialogue with various protest groups to facilitate their requests. No restrictions have been placed on the route,” a Metropolitan Police statement said.