Narendra Modi will visit the United Kingdom for the first time as prime minister in November and the Indian community in the country is planning a major reception for him at the iconic Wembley Stadium.
Over 70,000 people are expected to turn out at the invitation-only event being organised by the Europe India Forum at one of Europe’s largest football stadiums on November 13, the organisers said.
“Prime Minister Modi has emerged as an iconic figure on the world stage. This Olympics-style reception he will receive at Wembley stadium will not only reflect the respect and adulation he has within the British Indian community, but will highlight and celebrate his vision for a peaceful and prosperous India,” said Nathu Ram Puri, founder of the EIF as a not-for-profit organisation.
“It will bring together people from all communities and backgrounds in a mood of celebration of all that unites us as countries and people,” he added.
The gala reception -- titled ‘Two Great Nations. One Glorious Future’ -- will kick off with a specially produced cultural show featuring well-known British Indian artists.
The highlight, however, will be Modi’s keynote address to the Indian diaspora followed by what is being described as one of the largest fireworks displays in the UK as the visit coincides with the festival of Diwali.
“The UK government places huge importance on the special relationship with India. PM Modi’s forthcoming visit and the community reception will only serve to strengthen the bond of friendship between our two great nations. I encourage as many
community organisations to register their support,” said Priti Patel, UK employment minister and Prime Minister David Cameron’s Indian Diaspora Champion.
Coming over a year after Modi’s MadisonSquareGarden address in New York, the event at Wembley Stadium is being billed by the organisers as the biggest reception for any foreign head of government in the UK and also the largest for an Indian prime minister outside India.
A dedicated website created for the event -- www.ukwelcomesmodi.org -- will go live on Saturday for UK community organisations to register their interest in becoming “Welcome Partners”.
The event’s Twitter handle -- @ukwelcomesmodi -- will be used for all announcements and information relating to the event and its build-up.
Virendra Sharma MP, chairman of All Party Parliamentary Group on India-UK Relations, said, “The UK’s 1.5 million India diaspora are an excellent bridge between the UK and India. Prime Minister Modi has the largest democratic mandate in the history of the world. As a person of Indian origin, I am hugely looking forward to this defining moment where we can celebrate our democracies and shared values”.
Shamsuddin Agha, President of the Indian Muslim Federation, said “I am delighted that Narendra Modi, our prime minister, will be visiting the UK shortly. I have no doubt that it will strengthen the ties between our great nations. It will bring people closer than ever before. It will bolster trade and economic cooperation”.
“The visit will demolish the walls of hatred and extremism. It will work towards the development of all people irrespective of caste, creed or religion and create a pluralistic, multicultural society in India,” he said.
Ranjit Singh Baxi, president of the World Punjabi Organisation, added, “Prime Minister Modi’s forthcoming visit to the UK will be celebrated as the beginning of a new phase in the strengthening of the Indo-British partnership and the enhancing of bilateral investments”.
“The World Punjabi Organisation and all Indians across UK are looking forward to welcoming Narendra Modi. Working together under his dynamic leadership we will make India a global manufacturing hub -- Make in India,” he said.
Lord Karan Bilimoria, cross-bench peer of Zoroastrian Indian descent and founding chairman of the UK India Business Council, said, “The UK and India have an opportunity to really invigorate this unique and deep bilateral relationship. Prime Minister Modi’s visit I am sure will be the catalyst for many great things”.