Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday discussed with his British counterpart Theresa May a range of matters, including separatism, cross-border terrorism, visas and immigration, The Hindu reported.
Modi assured May that Britain would continue to remain important to India even after it leaves the European Union. “Prime Minister Modi said there would be no dilution in the importance of the UK to India post-Brexit,” said May’s spokesperson, according to Reuters. “He said the City of London was of great importance to India for accessing the global markets and would remain so.”
“The issue of economic offenders was also raised and this was among a number of consular issues that were raised,” Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale later told reporters in London. “I have already covered the issue of mobilising professionals and students and the like. Views were also exchanged on current international and multilateral issues.”
The two leaders discussed the threats posed by terrorism and radicalism. Modi told his British counterpart that the two countries should enhance their cooperation on matters related to national security, ANI reported. “It was agreed that one area where we need to enhance cooperation substantially is in cyber security field,” Gokhale added.
The two leaders also agreed to take decisive action against globally-proscribed terrorists and terror groups such as Lashkar-e-Tayibba, Jaish-e-Mohammad, Hizb-ul-Mujahideen, Haqqani Network, al-Qaeda, the Islamic State and their affiliates, the Ministry of External Affairs said.
Modi and May then visited the India-UK CEO Forum at Francis Crick Institute in London, and a showcase of collaboration between the two countries in science and technology.
Earlier, the Indian prime minister had accompanied Prince Charles to an exhibition titled “5,000 Years of Science and Innovation”, ANI reported. It celebrates India’s role in the history of science and technology. He is expected to meet Queen Elizabeth II at the Buckingham Palace later in the day.
The prime minister is also scheduled to address a town-hall discussion called “Bharat ki baat, sabke saath” in the British capital. Members of the Indian diaspora are expected to attend the event. There were also reports of people holding protests against Modi at Parliament Square in London.
Basavanna’s statue unveiled
Earlier in the day, Modi paid tribute to 12th century Lingayat philosopher Basavanna by unveiling his statue on the south bank of the Thames in London. The prime minister is in the United Kingdom to attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting.
The prime minister’s tribute comes amid a controversy in Karnataka following the state Congress government’s decision to grant a separate religion status to the community.
Earlier in the day, Bharatiya Janata President Amit Shah also garlanded a statue of the philosopher during a visit to the state amid protests against the party. The Karnataka Police detained several protestors who were demanding that the BJP clarify stance on the matter
The 12th-century Lingayat philosopher Basavanna was also a poet and a social reformer. Lingayats, who fall in the category of Other Backward Classes, are considered the single-largest community in the state and are estimated to account for anywhere between 11.5% and 19% of its population. Since their vote is widely believed to be decisive in 110 out of the state’s 224 Assembly constituencies, Lingayats are also considered politically powerful.
The state government’s move has irked the Bharatiya Janata Party, which has received the community’s support in recent years.