David Cameron predicted Narendra Modi’s address at Wembley Stadium was going to be “huge”, as he looked forward to welcoming India’s prime minister to Britain next month,
“I’m very excited by it,” Cameron said at Downing Street on Monday (21), ahead of the November 12-14 visit by the Indian leader.
“India is such a special partner for Britain and we have a very close relationship, a big business relationship, a big investment relationship. But also a great relationship in terms of people to people, in terms of our cultural, historical and language ties,” the prime minister said.
He added: “I think there’s a great future in this relationship. There’s a lot to talk about.
“I know the Indian diaspora will want to give him a warm welcome, as will I.”
In a radio address in India last week, Modi said: “A day after Diwali (November 11), I am going to Britain. I am excited about my visit.”
The Indian leader, who will be making his first visit to the UK as prime minister, will spend two days in the country before travelling to Turkey to attend a G20 summit.
A highlight of the Indian leader’s visit will be his address at Wembley Stadium on November 12 to an estimated crowd of more than 60,000, the biggest such gathering for the prime minister outside India.
People are set to gather in the stadium from mid morning, with cultural performances from dancers and singers taking place in the early afternoon. Modi will address the audience in Hindi, with some members of the audience and media given live translation through headphones.
There will be a grand fireworks display from the rooftops of Wembley Stadium to end the evening.
While in the capital, Modi will formally inaugurate the house where Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar, known as the father of the Indian constitution, lived. The property was recently acquired by the Indian government and Modi described it as a “place of inspiration for 125 crore [1.2 billion] Indians”.
Before he leaves for Turkey, the prime minister will unveil a statue of 12th century Indian philosopher Basaveshwara on the banks of the Thames in Lambeth on November 14.
Former Lambeth mayor, Dr Neeraj Patil, who worked on the project, met Modi in March to invite him to unveil the statue and the Prime Ministers’ Office accepted his request.
During his radio talk Mann ki Baat last Sunday (25), the prime minister said he it would be an honour to do so.
The Basaveshwara Foundation, a non-profit organisation, led the deputation to the Lambeth council on January 2010, and pledged to donate £250,000 for the lease of land to erect the statue.
Other Indian leaders with statues in London are Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and Rabindranath Tagore.