Prime Minister Narendra Modi today left for a 3-day visit in what will be his first trip to Britain. The visit is aimed at enhancing economic ties between the two nations and both sides will be working hard to lure investments.
PM Modi's visit comes at the heels of the recent debacle in the Bihar assembly elections and Chinese President Xi Jinping's visit to the UK three weeks earlier. According to media reports, deals amounting to an estimated 18 billion dollars are expected to be signed during the visit.
ALSO READ: Will Cairn get a Diwali gift from Mr Modi?"Leaving for UK. I am hopeful this visit will strengthen economic ties between India and UK & bring more investment to India. #makeinindia," PM Modi posted on micro-blogging site Twitter before starting his visit.
Leaving for UK. I am hopeful this visit will strengthen economic ties between India and UK & bring more investment to India. #makeinindia— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) November 12, 2015
The highlight of the visit will be PM Modi's address to an expected crowd of 60,000 people at London’s Wembley stadium. British Prime Minister David Cameron is expected to introduce Modi at Wembley. The other highlights of the visit include a lunch with Queen Elizabeth II and an overnight stay at the British Prime Minister’s official country retreat.
The visit will also be marked by protests by various groups. The "Modi Not Welcome" campaign by the Awaaz-UK as well as a protest organised by CasteWatchUK may take some of the shine off the visit.
What to expect on the economic and business front:
1) Both sides may look at expanding the BAE Systems' Hawk advanced jet trainer program made under licence in Bengaluru by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited. India is reported to be keen on acquiring an additional 20 trainers.
2) PM Modi will address a CEO’s forum on Friday, where several MoUs are expected to be announced between British and Indian companies. The forum will likely include representatives from major British companies like Rolls-Royce and Vodafone.
3) News agency Reuters reports that the British Prime Minister's office said it would seek to promote London as a centre for offshore rupee bonds. Indian companies are expected to announce plans to issue debt denominated in their own currency in London.
4) News agency PTI reports that UK's Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond narrowed down defence and civil nuclear cooperation as areas of focus during the visit. Hammond argued for greater British involvement in the 'Make in India' initiative and a push for government to government relationship in defence equipment.
5) PM Modi is expected to visit the Tata-owned Jaguar Land Rover factory in Solihull.