Britain welcomes Modi’s ‘inspiring’ re-election

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt (Photo by Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images)
Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt (Photo by Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images)

The UK government on Thursday (23) welcomed India’s election results and the re-election of Narendra Modi as prime minister.

UK foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt said he looked forward to visiting India soon as he congratulated Modi after an inspiring election campaign.

“Congratulations to Narendra Modi on your re-election! The world’s largest ever democratic exercise in history is an inspiration to us all & I hope to be visiting soon,” said the senior minister in a Twitter statement.

“We will continue to nurture living bridge between our countries & work together as a force for good in the world,” he said.

The official reaction came as the Indian election results resonated across the political and business corridors of the UK, with leading politicians and entrepreneurs welcoming the “decisive” victory scored by prime minister Narendra Modi.

While the official Downing Street reaction to Modi’s landslide win is expected later, members of the Theresa May led Conservative Party government took to social media to celebrate the verdict.

“Beyond the size of the majority now commanded by the BJP, this result is a decisive verdict on the support enjoyed by Narendra Modi across the nation of India,” said Bob Blackman, a Conservative Party MP from Harrow in north-west London where he represents a large British Hindu constituency.

“The BJP are the natural allies of the Conservative and Unionist Party and I am positive about the ever blossoming relationship between our two great nation states. India has been strengthened both domestically and abroad under Modi’s premiership and I look forward to his new term – Jai Hind,” he said.

On the Labour Party benches, another London-based MP representing a large British Hindu constituency of Brent North, Barry Gardiner, was equally effusive in his praise for Modi.

“As Indian prime minister Narendra Modi wins a second term we congratulate him for his message: ‘Our alliance represents India’s diversity and our agenda is India’s progress’, celebrating the country’s diversity. I look forward to deepening our friendship and trade,” he said.

The Confederation for British Industry (CBI), the UK’s representative industry body, also welcomed the “landslide victory”.

“The economic ties that bind the United Kingdom with India continue to go from strength to strength. Our latest research shows that the UK is the largest western investor in India and British business has created nearly 425,000 jobs since 2000,” CBI India director Shehla Hasan said.

“India will be a vital trading partner as the UK charts a new future outside the EU. The bold economic reforms already taken by prime minister Modi have enticed ever greater numbers of British firms to India. To fully capitalise on these opportunities, businesses would like to see further progress in reducing corporate tax rates, data privacy and ease of doing business indicators like enforcing contracts or registering a property,” she said.

Leading NRI industrialist Lord Swraj Paul took to Twitter to congratulate the people of India as well as Modi.

“You have shown your commitment in democracy. More than 600 million people voting largest in the world. Makes us all very proud. Let us make India strong. I am very proud to be Indian,” he said.

Impromptu street parties also broke out in parts of the UK, with the Indian Gymkhana in south-west London celebrating with dance and music.

“The public enthusiasm from a foreign soil clearly indicated the support, acknowledgement and appreciation of the work done by the current government, especially an untiring PM in last five years,” said Kuldeep Shekhawat, president of the Overseas Friends of BJP (OFBJP) group which organised a series of events such as car and rallies and flash mobs during the Indian election campaign.

“NRIs believe the Modi government’s progressive thinking, inclusive policies and initiatives to bring social equity is the key,” he said.