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HindustanTimes Fri,18 Apr 2014

US, UK seeks to deepen ties with Modi

Mahesh Langa, Hindustan Times  Ahmedabad, January 10, 2013
First Published: 19:25 IST(10/1/2013) | Last Updated: 19:27 IST(10/1/2013)

With chief minister Narendra Modi's rising stature following his third consecutive victory in the recent assembly polls, the US and the UK appear keen to woo Modi.

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Both the countries, which had shunned Modi following the 2002 riots in which over 1200 people, mostly from the minority community, were killed under Modi's stewardship, are now eager to strengthen relations with him and Gujarat.

In the 6th vibrant Gujarat Investors Summit, this is for the first time, the UK, which in last October decided to end boycott of Modi administration after the 2002 riots in which three British nationals were among those killed, and the US are actively participating with their top diplomats marking their presence in the summit to be launched from Friday.

Britain is putting up a huge stall in the exhibition "Great Britain" in which 50 UK companies/trade bodies are participating in the event. "We want to have a
deeper ties and partnership with Gujarat," Britain high commissioner James Bevan said while briefing the media persons in Ahmedabad.

He added that the UK India Business Council is also organizing two seminars: one to promote UK skills and education and another on technology transfer during
the two day event organized by the Gujarat government.

When asked whether the UK, which was critical of the way Modi administration had dealt with the riots, has forgotten the 2002, he said, "We have not forgotten
the 2002 because three persons of the UK were also killed. We want justice to be done to all but at the same time, we also want engagement with the Gujarat
government."

While defending his government's U- turn on Modi, Bevan said UK and Gujarat are "natural partners" and can grow ties in the field of education, healthcare, energy and infrastructure.

Similarly, the US, which had denied visa to Modi in 2005, also seeks to strengthen relations with Modi and Gujarat, is organizing a seminar "US & Gujarat:
Furthering partnerships and deepening ties" on the inaugural day of the Vibrant Gujarat Summit on Friday.

Among those to be present in the event are Peter Hass, Consul General, US Consulate Mumbai and Ron Somers, president of US India Business Council.

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