More Hawk trainers, smart cities on PM’s £10 billion UK agenda

  • Prasun Sonwalkar, Hindustan Times, London
  • Updated: Nov 11, 2015 01:05 IST
In this file photo, Britain's Prime minister David Cameron (L) shakes hands with Prime Minister Narendra Modi (R) during a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the G20 Summit at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibitions Centre (BCEC) in Brisbane. Modi will begin his first visit to Britain as Prime Minister on November 12, 2015. (AFP Photo)

Deals worth nearly £10 billion — including the sale of 20 Hawk trainer jets to India — are expected to be signed during the visit this week of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the United Kingdom.

The David Cameron-led UK government said that “nothing is off the table”, when asked if the issue of Britons killed in the 2002 Gujarat riots and related issues would come up in talks.

A spokesperson for Cameron said: “We are clear that it is important to the UK to have a strong and close relationship with India as an important partner. As the world’s largest democracy, there are many values we share and many common challenges we face, and we should be working together on them.”

She added: “These bilateral talks that Prime Minister Cameron has with leaders from around the world provide an opportunity to engage in person with them on a whole range of issues and talk to them about the challenges facing different countries and how we respond to them. Our focus is on how we can work together on the challenges facing our countries from economic prosperity to security.”

Besides Hawk trainer jets, several deals are expected with India’s private sector. Britain is also likely to be a partner in four of the 100 smart cities announced by the Modi government recently. Technology to clean the Ganga is also expected to figure in the talks.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has also sought a meeting with PM Modi.

Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis will be present on Saturday for the inauguration of a memorial to BR Ambedkar in a house — purchased by Maharashtra government recently — where Ambedkar lived in the 1920s.

Leading British newspapers have run several reports, profiles and comments focussing on Modi and the visit, including some severely critical of his record as chief minister of Gujarat and as the Prime Minister.

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