UK envoy Bevan calls on Modi, says Gujarat a changed state

UK envoy Bevan calls on Modi, says Gujarat a changed state

Ending a decade long isolation of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, British High Commissioner to India James Bevan called on him on Monday to ''engage in'' and ''strengthen'' diplomatic and business ties with the Gujarat government.

The meeting follows the British government decision about a fortnight back to resume relationship with Gujarat which had been in a deep freeze since 2002 Godhra riots. The British High Commissioner arrived in Gujarat on Monday morning and held an hour-long meeting with the chief minister. He later called on the state governor, Gujarat Congress chief Arjun Modhvadiya and several NGO representatives.

“The talks have been open, positive and constructive. I appreciated the chief minister for welcoming me. We discussed various things including prospects of Gujarat, scope for developing education, science, energy and trade and investment,” Bevan told media persons later.

Realising that his visit generated lots of media glare, Bevan said that the British government was not engaging with any individual but the government of the state. “He (Modi) happens to be the head of the state and you cannot ignore that,’’ Bevan commented, adding that the present UK government which had assumed power in 2010 was focused more on strengthening ties with India.

“And for a strong relationship with India you cannot ignore a state like Gujarat,’’ he said.
When asked on what had changed on the ground in Gujarat which had forced his government to change its perception towards Modi, Bevan said that the state had witnessed several changes in the last ten years. “The state of Gujarat has grown, become more important to the UK. Legal process have gone forward and we found a lot of people who were guilty of riots being convicted. We will keep on monitoring the cases to ensure that human rights are protected,’’ said Bevan.

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