After 10-year ban, India’s PM Narendra Modi arrives in the UK to criticism and fanfare.
Narendra Modi, the Indian prime minister, has rallied thousands of supporters and met Queen Elizabeth II on the second day of his official visit to Britain.
Friday’s meeting came as royal officials announced Prince William and his wife Kate would visit India next year.
Modi was greeted by tens of thousands of supporters waving Indian flags and Union Jacks during a rally at London’s Wembley Stadium.
It will not be long before there is a British Indian prime minister in Downing Street.
He was introduced onstage by David Cameron, the British prime minister, who has often been by Modi’s side on the trip, a sign of how important Britain considers the visit.
The crowd cheered when Cameron said, “It will not be long before there is a British Indian prime minister in Downing Street.”
Modi’s plans to modernise India and his pro-business agenda have won him many fans among the 1.5 million people of Indian origin in Britain.
“In a country that has suffered a lot because of corruption and misadministration, Modi is regarded as someone who is a clean politician and is somebody who delivers,” said Manoj Ladwa of the Europe India Forum, which organised the Wembley rally.
However, Modi, who belongs to the nationalist BJP party, has also been met by protests from Sikhs, Muslims, human rights groups and others who accuse him of failing to stop growing religious intolerance and violence in India.
Britain and India have announced major business deals and cultural exchanges during Modi’s trip, which ends on Saturday.
Prince to visit India
William and Kate’s Kensington Palace office said on Friday that the royal couple would make their first visit to India in spring 2016.
Modi is being treated to full British pomp and ceremony on the three-day visit.
On Thursday, he was welcomed by ranks of Scots Guards, saw a ceremonial fly-past by the Royal Air Force Red Arrows aerobatic team and gave a speech to parliament before spending the night at Cameron’s country retreat in Chequers.
The two countries have announced nine billion pounds ($14bn) in business deals, including a two billion pound ($3bn) British investment in solar power in India, and more than one billion ($1.5bn) worth of London-issued bonds to finance the expansion of India’s rail network and other projects.
Modi swept to power in 2014, on promises to develop India’s economy and root out the corruption and incompetence that had crippled the previous government.
However, he has also been accused of failing to stop attacks on religious minorities, and the BJP suffered a recent drubbing in an important state election that was widely seen as a referendum on Modi’s popularity.