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PM Modi to address select diaspora event in London

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s event, called Bharat Ki Baat, Sabke Saath, will be held at a venue in Westminster and about 1,500 invitees will be selected by lottery after registering on a website. 

world Updated: Mar 29, 2018 21:37 IST
Prasun Sonwalkar
Prasun Sonwalkar
Hindustan Times, London
Narendra Modi,Narendra Modi in London,Indian diaspora
Banners seen during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s rally at Wembley Stadium in London on November 13, 2015. (AFP File Photo)

Unlike the November 2015 community event at Wembley stadium, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address a scaled-down, invitation-only event in London on April 18 during his visit to the UK for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting.

The event, called Bharat Ki Baat, Sabke Saath,will be held at a venue in Westminster, organisers said, adding about 1,500 invitees will be selected by lottery after they register on a website created for the event.

Billed as a “niche event”, it is being projected as a “live interactive conversation” with Modi that will be telecast live.

The London-based organisers said a Wembley-style event was not possible during Modi’s visit due to lack of time, non-availability of the stadium, and security concerns as 53 heads of government will be in London for the CHOGM during April 16-20.

Besides the September 2014 community event at Madison Square Garden in New York, Modi’s address at the Wembley stadium is considered one of his most successful outreaches to the large Indian diaspora.

Before arriving in London on April 17, Modi is scheduled to address a community event in Stockholm, Sweden, where he will be on a day-long official visit.

In London, he will have bilateral meetings with Prime Minister Theresa May and with several Commonwealth heads of government.

One of the instruments Modi is scheduled to sign during the visit is a memorandum of understanding with the UK on the return of Indian citizens who do not have the right to remain in the country. This has often been flagged by May as a major issue.

Britain’s chairmanship of the Commonwealth for the next two years comes at a time when London is keen to leverage and revitalise its links with the group in the context of Brexit, which entails losing access to the European Single Market, its largest trading partner.

The CHOGM is likely to be the last attended by its head, Queen Elizabeth, 91. Prince Charles has been mentioned as a possible successor, but Commonwealth officials insist the decision is a matter for the 53 heads of government.

British agencies have been gearing upto meet security requirements during CHOGM events in London and Windsor, including dealing with demonstrations before Modi planned by some UK-based groups, such asSikh Federation UK.

First Published: Mar 29, 2018 20:29 IST