'Engagements with Modi not an endorsement': U.K envoy to India

New Delhi, Aug. 22 (ANI): Britain's High Commissioner to India, Sir James David Bevan, on Thursday said that his meeting with Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi last year was not an endorsement of him or his political party.

"I would like to say that engagements are not endorsement. My job is to understand India and meet important leaders so that I can help Britain and India to develop and strengthen their ties. Me going to Gujarat and meeting the Chief Minister was not an endorsement of Mr. Modi or his past or any political party," he told media here today.

The British High Commissioner further said that his Government decided to re-engage with Modi, after three British nationals were killed in the 2002 Gujarat riots and added that the his Government has concerns over human rights violation.

"One of the reasons my Government decided after ten years that we should re-engage with Modi and the state of Gujarat was because we have a particular interest in a trial relating to the death of three British nationals who were killed in the Gujarat riots in 2002. Now we want justice for those three nationals and we concluded that re-engagement with Gujarat would be a better way to achieve those objectives," he added.

Meanwhile, Sir James Bevan categorically said that the British Government has not invited Modi to U.K.

"I would like to make a distinction between the British Government, that I represent, which did not invite Modi to U.K and some British members of the Parliament who have recently invited the Chief Minister. The parliamentarians are free to invite whoever they want, just like in India but the British government has not invited Modi to Britain," he said.

Earlier this month, Barry Gardiner, a U.K Member of Parliament, sent a letter to Modi inviting him to the House of Commons to speak on 'The Future of Modern India'.

The UK government, like the US, had distanced itself from Modi in the aftermath of the 2002 Gujarat riots.

Sir James Bevan's meeting with the Gujarat Chief Minister in October 2012 was seen as a signal that the 10-year-long boycott was over. (ANI)

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