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03 October 2023

Modi faces protests as he signs £1bn deal on UK trip

Photo: AFP


Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was on Wednesday set to sign £1 billion ($1.42 billion, 1.14 billion euros) of investment deals with Britain during a visit to London, where he was met by hundreds of religious protesters.

Modi, in Britain for the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting, was also expected to confirm the new India-UK Trade Partnership, which London said "will seek to improve the accessibility of trade for businesses in both countries" as Britain leaves the European Union next year.

The government said the investments would create or safeguard 5,750 British jobs.

Prime Minister Theresa May, who is hoping to secure a free trade agreement with India after Brexit said: "Our trade partnership is showing how we can remove barriers to increase trade between our two countries."

Total trade in goods and services between Britain and India was £18 billion in 2017.

But Modi's visit was not without controversy, as several hundred protesters greeted him noisily outside parliament.

The demonstrators were mostly Muslims and Sikhs calling for an end to "religious persecution".

Protesters chanted "Modi go back" and "Modi is a terrorist".

Kashmiri separatists held aloft flags, while others displayed posters depicting an eight-year-old Muslim girl, who was raped and murdered earlier this year in a brutal attack blamed on Hindu men.

Other demonstrators included Sikhs demanding independence.

"Lots of different groups are here," said Dupinder Jit, a Sikh businessman.

"What is happening in Modi's regime is unacceptable, he is killing minorities."