Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to meet with his British counterpart Theresa May at Downing Street on Wednesday for a bilateral ahead of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) on Thursday and Friday.
They are expected to discuss a wide range of issues of mutual interest, including separatism, cross-border terrorism, visas and immigration.
U.K. Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, who received Mr. Modi at the Heathrow Airport late on Tuesday night, said tech collaboration, trade, and health care would be discussed by the two leaders
Mr. Modi’s is one of several bilaterals taking place in the United Kingdom ahead of CHOGM and comes less than three years after he last visited England, and after Ms. May’s trip to India last year.
“We have a living bridge growing between us, trade growing by 15% a year, the economic advantages and of course massive ties of culture and kinship and all the rest of it and now we want to build on that by working on that incredible tech sector where both India and the UK are making giant strides together,” said Mr. Johnson.
MoU on illegal immigrants
A memorandum of understanding (MoU) on the return of illegal immigrants, which expired in 2014, will be officially renewed to take into account biometric and other developments in the field, along with a range of nearly a dozen MoUs across different sectors.
British Ministers had previously told Parliament that issues around the religious minorities would be raised during Mr. Modi’s visit but that it was likely to be done in private rather than through “megaphone diplomacy”.
In keeping with the technology and innovation theme of the visit, events will be pegged around this, including a visit to the Science Museum, currently home to Illuminating India, focussed on 5,000 years of science and innovation in the country. This will also attended by Prince Charles, and prominent members of the diaspora who work in the fields of science, technology and creativity.
Mr. Modi will launch an Ayurvedic Centre of Excellence that will focus on “evidence based research” on Ayurveda and Yoga in London.
The Prime Minister will visit the Basaveshwara statue inaugurated by him on his last trip, and hold a second meeting with Ms. May and members of the UK-India CEO Forum, touring the research labs of the Francis Crick Institute, a biomedical research centre focussed on underlying causes of diseases, prevention and health.
Mr. Modi will then meet with the Queen at Buckingham Palace, followed by a diaspora event in central London at which he will speak and take questions from an audience in the hall, as well as from beyond, collated from social media. His first day will conclude with the inaugural dinner for heads of governments attending CHOGM, ahead of the commencement of formal meetings on Thursday.
(With inputs from PTI)