13 November 2015 - Narendra Modi visits the UK
David Cameron: India and UK are no longer imprisoned by the past
Nicholas Watt (The Guardian)
David Cameron has swept aside criticism of his decision to offer a lavish reception for the Indian prime minister, Narendra Modi, as he hailed his enormous mandate from the people of India.
The British prime minister was speaking at a press conference with his Indian counterpart at the Foreign Office after signing more than £9bn of business deals on the first day of a three-day visit by Modi, who became the first Indian leader since 1984 to win an outright victory in the 2014 general election.
Amid some of the tightest security provided for an overseas visitor, Cameron said he hoped the visit would herald a new and dynamic partnership that would show the UK and India are no longer “imprisoned by the past”.
Police closed off Whitehall and Parliament Square to traffic as a “gold command” security operation was put into operation to protect Modi, who is a highly controversial figure in India, dating back to his time as the chief minister of the state of Gujarat between 2001 and 2014. He was criticised for an allegedly lax response to communal riots in Gujarat in 2002, in which thousands of Muslims died.
Will Heilpern (CNN)
This will culminate Friday with what organizers claim will be the largest firework display the UK has ever seen.
But it's not all razzmatazz, Modi is a divisive figure and his visit has been met by protests as well as adoration.
The rock star Indian PM is still reeling from defeat in regional elections last week and he will welcome the foreign distraction.
But how is Modi being received by the UK?
Persona non grata?
Narendra Modi denies having been barred from UK and says he didn't visit due to 'time constraints'
Andy McSmith (The Independent)
Narendra Modi can expect a reception tomorrow night the like of which may never have been enjoyed by a foreign leader in the UK.
Even the President of the United States could not realistically draw a crowd of 55,000 to Wembley Stadium, but that is where India’s Prime Minister will be speaking at five o’clock on Friday afternoon. The organisers expect a full house.
This is not altogether surprising, because there are about 1.5 million people of Indian descent in the UK, almost half from Modi’s home state of Gujarat – but it is a dramatic turnabout in the fortunes of a man who was non grata in the UK for 10 years.
In 2002, more than 1,000 people died in religious riots in Gujarat. Modi, who was then the state’s Chief Minister, was accused of either inciting or failing to control Hindus mobs as they attacked Muslims. From 2002 to 2012, the British government had a policy of “non-engagement” with Modi and the Gujarat government.
As UK academics researching development in India, we are deeply concerned about Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s official visit to the UK from 12-14 November, and call for the human rights abuses on his watch to be questioned in the public domain (Opinion, 10 November). It is important that the growing economic ties between India and the UK, which will no doubt be applauded during this visit, should not mask acknowledgment of the darker sides of what’s happening in India today.
Since Modi came to power in 2014, minorities and women have experienced rising intolerance and intimidation and cultural and academic freedoms have been eroded. Under his leadership as chief minister of Gujarat in 2002, the Gujarat government watched a pogrom of 1,000 people directed against the minority Muslim community.
There has been an escalation of rapes against women and his cabinet includes several ministers against whom criminal cases, including rape, are pending. Modi’s roots and leadership positions in the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), a belligerent rightwing paramilitary organisation, are well established. The RSS is known for both its misogynist and anti-minority views, and its core Hindu-rule ideology has been publicly endorsed by Modi. Politicians with RSS backgrounds dominate his cabinet and current administration.
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"13 November 2015 - Narendra Modi visits the UK", La Clé des Langues [en ligne], Lyon, ENS de LYON/DGESCO (ISSN 2107-7029), novembre 2015. Consulté le 01/12/2023. URL: https://cle.ens-lyon.fr/anglais/key-story/archives-revue-de-presse-2015/13-november-2015-narendra-modi-visits-the-uk