London: Britain’s senior-most Indian-origin minister has said Narendra Modi’s first visit to the UK as the Prime Minister will be a chance for the two countries to take their “special relationship into the modern context”.
Priti Patel will be the driving force during Modi’s much-anticipated visit between November 12 and 14 as British Prime Minister David Cameron’s Indian Diaspora Champion. She said Modi’s visit at the time of auspicious occasion of Diwali will be one of the biggest celebrations in the UK.
“It is such a special and auspicious occasion for all Indians and the fact that we have the Prime Minister of India coming to the UK at that auspicious time to be among the largest Indian Diaspora communities in the world will absolutely make this a very exciting celebration and a very important illustration of the strength of the relationship of our two great nations,” 43-year-old Patel said. “I am thrilled to be involved in supporting the official visit and also being involved in the community event at Wembley Stadium (November 13). We have an enormous, very successful Indian Diaspora in the UK.”
I think they are absolutely at the heart of this visit. It will be a tremendous celebration of the UK-Indian Diaspora,” she added.
Patel, who took charge as employment minister in the Cameron-led Cabinet after the May elections, said the visit would be a chance for the two countries to take their “special relationship into the modern context in terms of supporting Prime Minister Modi’s vision of economic development”.
“India as a global leader stands tall in the world and we can support India’s global aspirations, whether it’s on employment, on investment or on trade. As two nations we stand together, shoulder to shoulder to meet those shared objectives,” she said.
The Conservative party MP from Witham constituency in the north east of London returned from Turkey this week after her first G20 summit as minister of state for employment.
Among her meetings included a bilateral with her Indian counterpart Bandaru Dattatreya and they collectively signed a pledge to bring down the number of young people “Not in Education, Employment or Training”, or NEETs, by 15 per cent.
“As we have the PM of India coming later this year, we wanted to build a dialogue at the G20 which will facilitate growth and investment in India. There is no doubt when it comes to Make in India, we absolutely are there to support the Indian government.
“Central to that is skills, training and education and we can support India in investing in people. So we see this as a natural collaboration, a natural partnership,” she explained.