There are tens of thousands of Gujaratis now in Britain and there are British businesses already trading in Gujarat.
When UK Prime Minister David Cameron visited Swami Narayan temple is Nasden for celebrating Diwali this year, it was pretty much becoming clear that he was trying to woo India who was quite upset with UK’s discriminatory policies against its people.
First the visa row, then the issue Britain scrapping aid to India – it was all straining the relationship between two countries.
Cameron is visiting India before going to Sri Lanka for attending the Commonwealth Summit. He met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and then went off to Kolkata to meet West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
But in between, he gave an interview to CNN-IBN news channel saying that he was open to meeting all elected leaders, including Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi who is the BJP’s prime ministerial nominee for the 2014 polls.
“Entirely yes…I am open to meeting all elected leaders anyway,” Cameron told CNN-IBN news channel when asked if he was open to meeting Modi.
Interestingly, the UK along with US and EU has been averse to meeting Modi who is charged for doing little for saving the victims of 2002 pogrom. They have devised names like Pol Pot and Modern Hitler for the Indian leader.
Ever since, Modi has been persona non grata in the west. The US refused him visas; European diplomats will not shake his hand. Yet last month, for no obvious reason, the British government broke ranks and brought him in from the cold. For Modi, who is running for prime ministership, this was a massive boost. No sooner had he got the news than he convened a rally to announce that the British had rehabilitated him.
It should be noted that UK is running through hard financial times and PM Cameron is trying to lift the spirits of the country by trying to do business with the rest of the world. There are tens of thousands of Gujaratis now in Britain and there are British businesses already trading in Gujarat. Also, the state is booming.
The Modi case really tells us howbadly Cameron wants to get on with the rest of the world to save the economy of his nation. Sure, he’ll grandstand about human rights, but in modern, cash-strapped Britain, he’ll do business with anyone – even if they have presided over a pogrom.