British PM reached out to all audience in India, came out in support of his Indian counterpart on Ukraine stand
Published: 25th April 2022 07:29 AM | Last Updated: 25th April 2022 07:29 AM | A+A A-
British PM Boris Johnson speaks with the seer inside Akshardham temple in Gandhinagar. He was accompanied by the Gujarat CM and the UK High Commissioner during his visit to the shrine.
NEW DELHI: Boris Johnson made all the right noises during his maiden visit to India as UK Prime Minister. He walked the extra mile to showcase how he values his ties with ‘khas dost’ (special friend) Narendra Modi.
Followers would recollect that Johnson was effusive in his praise of Modi back in 2019, when he called the Indian PM a ‘firecracker’ and a ‘political phenomenon.’ It, thus, came as no surprise that Johnson landed at Ahmedabad in Gujarat — the home state of Modi — before he reached Delhi.
At the Sabarmati ashram, Johnson spun the charka which made a good photo op in contrast to the heat he faces back home, courtesy the Partygate controversy. A section of the British press joked about him spinning yarns of lies in Parliament. In the message book of the ashram, Johnson wrote about how Mahatma Gandhi’s principles of truth and non-violence changed the world.
With nearly half of British Indians hailing from Gujarat, the significance of Johnson’s visit to the Akshardham temple in Gandhinagar was not lost on anyone. “This is the mother of all mandirs. It is the source of your wonderful mandirs across the world,’’ he said.
His next stop was Halol, where he inaugurated British firm JCB’s plant. As JCB is a supporter of Johnson’s Conservative Party, the inauguration was significant for him. Johnson flew in a US-made Chinook helicopter, instead of the Russian MI 17, to reach the plant.
Interestingly, Johnson rode a BMW in Ahmedabad. It is learnt that he has told the office of Deputy High Commission that next time, he would want to drive a Jaguar Land Rover, which to him was the best of India-UK collaborations. Investments and exports worth 1 billion pounds and job creation for 11,000 British nationals were sealed during his visit.
In Delhi, Johnson appreciated Modi’s stand on Ukraine, much to the dismay of the British press. “Narendra Modi has come out in strong language at what happened in Bucha. He has made several attempts to reach out to Putin, asking him what on earth he thinks is he doing? Indians want peace and Russia out and I tend to agree with that.’’ Johnson also asserted that India was different from autocracies like Russia and China.
Modi credited Johnson for improving ties between the two countries. “This may be his first visit as Prime Minster to India, but Boris knows India very well. He has contributed greatly in enhancing the India-UK ties,’’ he said.
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