UK PM Johnson visits Gandhi's Sabarmati Ashram, tries hand at charkha | Video
British prime minister Boris Johnson - who arrived in Gujarat's Ahmedabad Thursday morning on a two-day trip - visited the Sabarmati Ashram and was seen trying to spin Mahatma Gandhi's famous charkha. A video shared by news agency ANI showed Johnson seated in front of the spinning wheel and two women were guiding him through the process.
"It is an immense privilege to come to the ashram of this extraordinary man, and to understand how he mobilised such simple principles of truth and non-violence to change the world for the better," Johnson wrote in the visitor's book.
The United Kingdom PM will also get gifts from the ashram, including a copy of 'The Spirit's Pilgrimage' by Madeleine Slade (or Mirabehn) - a British supporter of Indian independence and a disciple of Gandhi. He will also get a copy of 'Guide to London', one of the first books Gandhi wrote .
Johnson was received by chief minister Bhupendra Patel, as well as governor Acharya Devvrat when his flight touched down earlier today. Senior state officials and ministers were also present to receive the UK prime minister.
He was greeted by troupes playing and performing traditional Gujarati music and dances, and then took part in a four-km roadshow to his hotel in the city.
LIVE UPDATES: Boris Johnson visits Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad
The roadshow started at the airport and passed through Ashram Road via Dafnala and Riverfront. 40 platforms were erected at regular intervals, on which again troupes performed traditional Indian dances to welcome Boris Johnson.
On this visit Johnson will aim to strengthen bilateral ties, especially in the areas of defence and security, and trade. Russia's war on Ukraine is also likely to figure in discussions with prime minister Narendra Modi in Delhi on Friday, though sources said the UK will not look to lecture India on its position in this war.
India's continuing trade with Russia - particularly the purchase of crude oil - led to pointed remarks from both the UK and the United States but Delhi stood by its decision, pointing out Europe is a far bigger consumer of Russian oil.
A major focus of Johnson's talks with Modi will also be on China and the situation in the Indo-Pacific, with the United Kingdom strongly opposed to any kind of coercion in the region.
Johnson was scheduled due to visit India in January last year, but that trip was cancelled as the second wave of the Covid-19 swept the UK.
With input from ANI