UK PM Johnson Lands In Ahmedabad, Visits Sabarmati Ashram

| Updated: 21 April, 2022 2:01 pm IST
UK PM Boris Johnson was received by Gujarat CM Bhupendra Patel at the Ahmedabad airport.

AHMEDABAD: United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson landed in Ahmedabad for a two-day visit to India and was given a grand welcome in the city with a large number of people lining up the 4-km route from the airport to a hotel in the city on Wednesday morning.

Johnson is the first prime minister of the UK to visit Gujarat, the home state of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The British prime minister was received by Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel and Governor Acharya Devvrat at the Ahmedabad airport. Johnson was welcomed to traditional Gujarati music and dance performed by troupes at the airport as well as along the route his convoy took.

“It’s fantastic to be in India, the world’s largest democracy. I see vast possibilities for what our great nations can achieve together. Our powerhouse partnership is delivering jobs, growth, and opportunity. I look forward to strengthening this partnership in the coming days,” the UK PM said in a tweet.

Accompanied by Chief Minister Patel, Johnson visited Sabarmati Ashram in the city, paid his respects to Mahatma Gandhi, and was seen spinning a ‘Charkha’. He was presented with an unpublished book written by Mahatma Gandhi at the ashram.

In the visitors’ book of the ashram, Johnson wrote, “It is an immense privilege to come to the Ashram of this outstanding man and to understand how he mobilised such simple principles of truth and non-violence to change the world for the better.”

Johnson is expected to meet business leaders in the city later today.

His visit is aimed at deepening “our long-term partnership for peace and prosperity with a fellow leading democracy” in the face of global economic challenges and threats from autocratic countries, his office said ahead of the visit.

In New Delhi, the UK prime minister will be accorded a ceremonial welcome at Rashtrapati Bhavan on Thursday, April 22. He will meet PM Modi and hold “in-depth talks” on the UK-India strategic defence, diplomatic and economic partnership, aimed at bolstering the “close partnership and stepping up security co-operation in the Indo-Pacific” between the two nations.

“India and the United Kingdom enjoy a long and historical relationship which was elevated to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership during the India-UK Virtual Summit in 2021. The prime ministers will review the implementation of the Roadmap 2030 and set their vision for further intensifying cooperation across the full spectrum of bilateral ties,” the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said in a statement earlier this week.

During his visit, the two sides will discuss speeding up Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations launched earlier this year.

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