London: Britain’s prime minister David Cameron has said that his government is engaging with Narendra Modi, the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate, as it does with all opposition parties in many countries. But, he said, he has no plans to meet the Gujarat Chief Minister when he visits India; he will meet his counterpart, the Indian Prime Minister.
“Britain is a democracy. We talk to and engage with opposition parties in all countries – India included. If we think there are things that we’ve not got right, we can have free and frank discussions about those things,” Mr Cameron told NDTV soon after he celebrated Diwali with his wife Samantha at a temple in London’s borough of Neasden on Monday.
Mr Cameron was quoted as saying in an interview last month that Britain favors closer engagement with Gujarat and its Chief Minister as the “best way to achieve our wide-ranging objectives there – including on human rights.”
“In the last 12 months, there have been significant developments in the legal process following the 2002 Gujarat riots, including convictions in a number of high profile cases,” Mr Cameron was quoted as saying to The Eastern Eye, a weekly published by the Garavi Gujarat Group of newspapers. The interview was published soon after Mr Modi was named presumptive PM by the main opposition party, the BJP.
Britain was among many western nations that had distanced themselves from Mr Modi in the immediate aftermath of the 2002 Gujarat riots. There has been a shift in their position since Mr Modi won a third straight mandate to rule Gujarat in assembly elections held last year.
In March this year, Britain’s Foreign Office Minister Hugo Swire met Mr Modi in Gujarat, saying it was “a logical next step” in Britain’s relations with Gujarat.
British Prime Minister David Cameron, accompanied by his wife Samantha, visited the Swaminarayan Mandir, the largest traditional Hindu temple outside India, in north-west London and celebrated Diwali.
While Cameron wore a trusty navy suit, 42-year-old Samantha glittered in a spectacular autumnal sari as they performed puja on Monday at the temple in Neasden on Diwali, the festival of lights, that is celebrated by millions of Hindus, Jains and Sikhs around the world.