A Face-Off Between Pro-Anti India Groups During PM’s Visit to UK

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New Delhi: Prime Minister NarendraModi’s visit to United Kingdom is expected to see a noisy face-off between pro and anti-India groups near London’s Parliament Square on April 18. Prime Minister NarendraModi will hold bilateral meetings and will address a diaspora event at Central Hall Westminster.
Some Sikh groups have announced their plans to demonstrate, which is likely to be joined by pro-Pakistan groups. A demonstration has also been announced by the South Asia Solidarity Group, an anti-imperialist, anti-racist organisation based in Britain. The groups had staged a noisy demonstration outside Downing Street during Modi’s last visit to Britain in November 2015.
However, some members of the Indian community have said that this time, there will be a “strong counter-protest” by pro-India groups to welcome Modi. Modi’s packed itinerary includes a day of bilateral meetings with Prime Minister Theresa May and others in the British government, and the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting. He will have a rare audience with Queen Elizabeth, and meet Prince Charles at a tech event.

The bilateral agenda includes renewing a memorandum of understanding that lapsed in 2014 on the framework to return illegal Indians in the UK — British authorities claim that number is in the hundreds of thousands.
Since May has linked the return of illegal Indians to any improvement in visa conditions for Indians, the expectation is that updated MoU will put the ball in the British government’s court, which is keen to court India for a free trade agreement post Brexit.

 

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