Arts, Entertainment & Media

Red Arrows over London and protests greet visit of Indian Prime Minister

Red Arrows over London for visit of Indian Prime Minister. Image: @rafredarrows

Red Arrows over London for visit of Indian Prime Minister. Image: @rafredarrows

The RAF’s Red Arrows and noisy protesters have greeted the visit of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to London.

The demonstration at Downing Street has been over human rights in India.

UK Prime Minister David Cameron announced Britain has agreed a five-year partnership with India to help develop the cities of Amravati, Indore and Pune.

This was one of a package of deals confirmed by their meeting.

Mr Cameron said there’s a real opportunity to ‘open a new chapter in the relationship’ between the two countries and develop ‘a more ambitious modern partnership’ on an economic, defence and global level.

The new collaborations are said to be worth more than £9 billion.

UK Prime Minister David Cameron and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Image: @Number10

UK Prime Minister David Cameron and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Image: @Number10

Mr Cameron said he wanted Britain to become India’s ‘number one partner’ in raising finance for Mr Modi’s plan to create 100 ‘smart cities’ across his country.

It’s intended the City of London will establish itself as the world’s centre for trading in India’s rupee currency.


Mr Modi was brought in to Downing Street on foot via the Foreign Office while noisy protests took place outside.

Around a hundred protesters gathered outside Downing Street, chanting noisily and holding placards.

Messages on the banners included ‘Modi not welcome’, ‘Stop religious persecution’, and ‘Remove illegal blockade in Nepal.’

A police cordon and vans were in position to prevent them disrupting access to the street.

Roads around Westminster were closed off and helicopters circled overhead.

More than 200 writers, including Ian McEwan, Salman Rushdie and Val McDermid, have written an open letter to the Prime Minister urging him to raise concerns about freedom of expression in India during his talks with Mr Modi.

Year of British-Indian Culture in 2017

Prime Minister David Cameron announced a year long-programme to celebrate the 70th anniversary of Indian independence and UK cultural ties.

The Year of Culture will take place in 2017.

Downing Street announced:

  • The India-UK Year of Culture will be a curated programme that gives audiences in India and the UK access to inspirational, engaging and diverse art, music, theatre, design, performing arts, film and literature.

  • The India programme in the UK will be led by the Ministry of Culture in India, the Nehru Centre and other Indian cultural organisations in the UK, working with the British Council as partner.

  • The British Library holds the finest collection of South Asian literature in the world. The project will include the digitisation of more than 7 million pages from Asian-language books as well as significant selections of manuscripts and other items from the Library’s collections, including archives, visual and sound material.

  • British Indians represent the largest ethnic group in Britain (1.5 million people) and 3 of the top 6 languages spoken are Indian: Punjabi, Bengali and Gujarati.


    Sources: Downing Street, RAF, FCO, and Press Association.

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