Shortly after Prime Minister Narendra Modi had lunch with Queen Elizabeth at Buckingham Palace, he and PM David Cameron arrived at Wembley Stadium and were greeted with cheers from 60,000 people.”Your warm welcome makes me feel at home” Modi told the biggest gathering of Indian diaspora he has ever addressed.
PM Cameron greeted the audience with a ‘Namaste’, introduced his counterpart and said the UK-India relationship is ‘about our potential’ and both countries are ‘united by the scale of our ambition’. Team India, Team UK together are a winning combination, he added.
Modi hailed his country’s special relationship with the UK and ensured his audience that India is capable of fulfilling the dreams of every Indian. In a deft reference to the issue of intolerance, Modi said ‘INdia’s diversity is the country’s strength and pride’ and he underlined the importance of peaceful co-existence. There is no reason for India to remain poor, he said
Mr Modi made his speech mainly in Hindi, aside from a short welcoming opening in English. Unlike the past, Modi said “the soil of London” had given birth to India’s freedom struggle, in an attempt to lay the legacy of Britain’s imperial past to rest. He said India is working towards a clean India and an India with 24/7 electricity, and he ensured that 18000 villages that needed electricity will in the next 1000 days obtain it.
During his luncheon with the Queen Modi gave her photographs of her visit to India and a gift box of Darjeeling tea and silk Tanchoi scarves from Varanasi. In return he received a silver dish and signed photographs.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge announced they would go on a tour of India next spring.
Britain has a 1.5 million strong Indian diaspora population.
A downside to the visit was a few reports that were critical of Modi’s past and his record on human rights. One report said “Britain will continue to pursue stronger ties with India despite Narendra Modi’s record on human rights. One columnist wrote that ‘the egregious PM is not a man who shares our values – but Britain’s relationship with India is bigger than one man.