After Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi’s luncheon with ambassadors of European Union nations in January this year, sources say that United Kingdom’s Foreign Office minister Hugo Swire is visiting Ahmedabad on Wednesday. Even as details and reasons for his visit are not clear yet, the presumption is that Swire’s visit will take forward the diplomatic dialogue initiated by the British ambassador James Bevan last year.
Sources said that even as the exact contours of Swire’s visit are not defined, he too will be reaching out to Modi. Earlier, official circles in Gandhinagar were abuzz with talk of UK Prime Minister David Cameron meeting Modi during his visit to India in February this year. However, as that did not happen, Swire is now expected to further engage with the Gujarat chief minister, the sources said.
Modi’s international acceptance continues to be a topic of discussion as he hard sells himself as the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate in the Lok Sabha elections scheduled in 2014.
Earlier this month, Wharton India Economic Forum dropped Modi from its list of speakers after sending him an invitation for the same. Intriguingly, adding to the growing support for the chief minister among the business community, UK’s Lord Adam Patel, once a harsh critic of the Gujarat CM, had criticized Wharton for its decision. Sources said that Patel has extended an olive branch by inviting Modi to UK, and especially to his province Blackburn, where the chief minister will be hosted by Muslims.