British Premier David Cameron on Tuesday said Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “extraordinary” visit to the UK this week will help build a modern partnership between the two great countries to combat challenges like terrorism, climate change and poverty.
Stressing on the importance of India and the UK working together, he said: “We both face so many of the same challenges, whether it is fighting terrorism and Islamist extremism, which has done so much damage to India and to Britain.
“We must stand and have that fight together, whether it is fighting climate change, entrenched poverty, or finding jobs and livelihoods for our young people and growth in our cities. These are challenges that Britain and India can face together in a thoroughly modern partnership,” he said.
“And I will want to show Prime Minister Modi the thingthat I am proudest of in our country, which is the people who have come to our country and have contributed so much to our country. From all different faiths, communities and ethnicities, everyone can find some of their own community here in Britain,” he added.
The British Prime Minister also said that a special tricolour flypast by the Red Arrows Royal Air Force (RAF) Aerobatic Team will take place in honour of his Indian counterpart.
“This is a special week for Britain and for India because of the extraordinary visit of Prime Minister Modi. I think it’s going to be spectacular. We are going to see for the first time ever the Red Arrows fly with colours of the Indian flag coming out,” he said.
“I can’t tell you how many officials in the Ministry of Defence it took to find the orange smoke; it was one of the most complicated procurement,” Cameron joked, during a special Diwali reception hosted at 10 Downing Street today.
“What I hope we can achieve this week as we have this great visit is not to rest on the laurels of the past and the ties of history, language and culture, important as they are. Not simply to celebrate the immense economic ties, with India a top investor into Britain and Britain a top investor into India… but actually building a thoroughly modern partnership between our two great countries,” he said.
“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…To me what is most exciting is that we are talking of two countries that have very close ties and a very strong past together. But what I think is important is the future that we can have together. The future of the world’s oldest democracy and the world’s largest democracy,” he added.
On a lighter note, he made reference to the massive community reception planned at Wembley Stadium on Friday where Modi is expected to address a crowd of 60,000.
“I don’t know what magic that is as I struggle to fill Wembley town hall,” he joked.
PM Modi arrives for his first visit as Indian Prime Minister to the UK on Thursday afternoon and will hold talks with Cameron at 10 Downing Street before paying tributes at the Mahatma Gandhi statue in Parliament Square followed by a speech at the Houses of Parliament.
After an evening event hosted by the City of London at the Guildhall, he will make his way to Cameron’s country residence at Chequers in Buckinghamshire, south-east England, for an overnight stay.
On Friday, he is likely to return to 10 Downing Street for a CEOs Forum which will be followed by lunch with Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace before the mega reception at Wembley Stadium.
On Saturday he leaves for Ankara to attend the G20 summit after inaugurating a new statue of 12th century Indian 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, is expected to be the last item on his UK agenda.
Describing Diwali as a “great moment” in Britain’s national calendar, UK Prime Minister David Cameron on Wednesday also greeted the Indian diaspora and lauded the community for their “incredible” contribution to the UK.