Had positive talks: Bevan on Modi

Last Updated: Tue, Oct 23, 2012 06:56 hrs

Ending Britain's diplomatic exclusion of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi that was caused after the 2002 riots, the British High Commissioner to India James Bevan on Monday met the western state's CM here and said the meeting was positive and constructive.

"Talks have been open, positive and constructive," Bevan said while addressing a press conference after the meeting.

"I had a good conversation with the Chief Minister...We talked about ways in which the UK and Gujarat can co-operate in fields like education, science, energy and trade," he said.

The move could surely be taken as a step to normalise Britain´s relationship with Gujarat, a state where the 2002 anti-Muslim riots were largely blamed on Modi.

"2002 was ten years ago. Many things have changed in these years," Bevan said.

Modi tweeted: "Had a great meeting with UK High Commissioner, Sir James Bevan to strengthen Guj-UK ties in economic & social sectors."

Modi´s offcial website said: "Shri Modi and Sir Bevan spoke about strengthening ties between Gujarat and Britain in their 50 minute long meeting in economic, education, social and diplomatic spheres."

"High Level Delegation from Britain to take part in Vibrant Gujarat Summit 2013," the website said.

Foreign Office Minister Hugo Swire earlier this month asked the British High Commissioner in New Delhi to visit the Indian state and meet Modi and other senior officials in the state in order to discuss wide range of issues of mutual interest.

"This will allow us to discuss a wide range of issues of mutual interest and to explore opportunities for closer cooperation, in line with the British Government's stated objective of improving bilateral relations with India," Swire said in a press release.

"The UK has a broad range of interests in Gujarat. We want to secure justice for the families of the British nationals who were killed in 2002. We want to support human rights and good governance in the state," he said.

Protests had taken place in UK during Modi´s visit to the country in 2003 due to his alleged role in the 2002 riots in the state.

He was denied a visa to visit UK in 2005.

The infamous Gujarat riots of 2002 left hundreds of Muslims dead, injured and tortured and came as a blot in the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) rule in the state.

The riots followed an incident of train burning in Godhra in which Hindus returning from Ayodhya were killed by a Muslim mob.

Around 1,000 supporters of prime accused Maulvi Umarjihad attacked the coach at the Godhra station and torched it killing 59 people and injuring many.

More from Sify: