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Heroin trade strained India-UK relations in 1980s: UK files

India’s reluctance to allow Britain to position British officers in New Delhi and Mumbai to monitor illegal heroin trade in the 1980s strained India-UK relations, according to newly-released UK cabinet files.Then British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s government believed that “illicit heroin movement from India” was at an “all-time peak” and wanted her Indian counterpart Rajiv Gandhi to agree to two British Drug Liaison Officers (DLOs) to be appointed in India.However, Gandhi resisted until India had received information of its own on offenders seeking refuge in the UK, according to newly declassified documents in the National Archives. In contrast, Pakistan under President Zia-ul-Haq seemed more receptive to Britain’s requests with DLOs placed in Karachi and Islamabad happy with “effective steps to tackle the problem of heroin production”.”The evidence was that Pakistan was getting on top of the drug production problem,” a letter to Downing Street dated December 4, 1985, noted following a visit by then UK health minister David Mellor to Pakistan.It went on to warn of the problem shifting to India, saying “Mr Mellor believed that, as drug controls were increased in Pakistan, and particularly at Karachi Airport, much of the traffic was now taking the land route to India”.”This would inevitably have an impact on the extent of heroin used and production in India itself. India might replace Afghanistan and Pakistan as the major world supplier,” it said. Mellor was concerned about delays in securing India’s agreement to the secondment of two Customs officers. Following a telegram from Thatcher questioning the reason for the delay, Gandhi responded “I feel that there is a communication gap somewhere. We are determined to combat the drug menace with every resource at our command. We had readily agreed, in principle, to British drug liaison presence in India.”We have an equally pressing problem in relation to economic and commercial offenders, who operate from or seek foreign sanctuaries. Our Parliament and people continue to be exercised on what is perceived to be lack of adequate action against such offenders,” Gandhi wrote.Britain finally got its way and Hartley Booth, an adviser to Thatcher, confirmed the success in a memo dated November 28, 1986, “After 31 approaches from officials and FCO (Foreign & Commonwealth Office) ministers during the last 15 months, India relented on November 20 and accepted the appointment of two drugs liaison officers from the United Kingdom to India”.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>

Modi in UK: PM to arrive in Britain tomorrow, may face protesters

Describing Modi’s visit as “extraordinary”, Cameron said it was not simply about celebrating the economic ties but “actually building a thoroughly modern partnership between our two great countries”.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is all set to arrive here tomorrow on a three-day visit to Britain during which he will have a hectic schedule that will start with talks with his British counterpart David Cameron who has described the trip as “extraordinary”. “I am excited by this visit. I am excited by what Prime Minister Modi is doing in India and I’m excited about the partnership that we can build together,” Cameron said. Describing Modi’s visit as “extraordinary”, Cameron said it was not simply about celebrating the economic ties but “actually building a thoroughly modern partnership between our two great countries”. Modi arrives here tomorrow afternoon and after talks with Cameron at 10 Downing Street he will address a joint press conference at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO).<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A brief stop to pay tributes at the Mahatma Gandhi statue in Parliament Square will be followed by speeches at the Houses of Parliament and then at the Guildhall in the financial hub of London. His talks with Cameron will carry on at the British Prime Minister’s country residence of Chequers in Buckinghamshire, where he is being hosted overnight.On Friday, Modi returns London for a CEOs round-table which is likely to include representatives from major British companies like Rolls-Royce and Vodafone. The pomp and ceremony attached to the visit is expected to include a special tricolour flypast by the Red Arrows Royal Air Force (RAF) Aerobatic Team over Buckingham Palace before the Prime Minister sits down for lunch with Queen Elizabeth II on Friday afternoon before making his way to Wembley Stadium in north London for the mega Diaspora reception.He leaves for Ankara to attend the G20 summit on Saturday after inaugurating a new statue of 12th century philosopher Basaveshwara as well as a new Ambedkar memorial in London. A visit to the Tata Motors owned Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) factory in Solihull, in the West Midlands region of England, will be the last item on his UK agenda. “My visit to UK is the first Prime Ministerial visit in almost a decade. I have had the opportunity to meet Prime Minister David Cameron at various international forums and our meetings have been productive. Prime Minister Cameron is a good friend of India’s, and we in India have had the privilege of welcoming him thrice during his first term as Prime Minister,” Modi wrote in a Facebook post ahead of the visit.Meanwhile, a number of groups have announced a “day of protest” tomorrow, coinciding with Modis visit. The “Modi Not Welcome” campaign by the Awaaz Network as well as a protest organised by CasteWatchUK will assemble outside Downing Street and then move on to Parliament Square. Another group of protesters are expected to assemble outside Wembley Stadium, demanding that the Indian government lift the ban on the documentary ‘India s Daughter’ by British filmmaker Leslie Udwin. “An appropriate policing plan is in place. We are in dialogue with various protest groups to facilitate their requests. No restrictions have been placed on the route,” a Metropolitan Police statement said.

British PM David Cameron admits even he can’t do a ‘Modi’ in UK

“I don’t know what magic that is as I struggle to fill Wembley town hall,” he joked.

File Photo

British Premier David Cameron said Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “extraordinary” visit to the UK this week will help build a modern partnership between the two great countries to combat challenges like terrorism, climate change and poverty. The British Prime Minister also said that a special tricolour flypast by the Red Arrows Royal Air Force (RAF) Aerobatic Team will take place in honour of his Indian counterpart.”This is a special week for Britain and for India because of the extraordinary visit of Prime Minister Modi. I think it’s going to be spectacular. We are going to see for the first time ever the Red Arrows fly with colours of the Indian flag coming out. “I can’t tell you how many officials in the Ministry of Defence it took to find the orange smoke; it was one of the most complicated procurement,” Cameron joked, during a special Diwali reception hosted at 10 Downing Street today. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”What I hope we can achieve this week as we have this great visit is not to rest on the laurels of the past and the ties of history, language and culture, important as they are. “Not simply to celebrate the immense economic ties, with India a top investor into Britain and Britain a top investor into India…but actually building a thoroughly modern partnership between our two great countries,” he said. “I am excited by this visit. I am excited by what Prime Minister Modi is doing in India and I’m excited about the partnership that we can build together…To me what is most exciting is that we are talking of two countries that have very close ties and a very strong past together. “But what I think is important is the future that we can have together. The future of the world’s oldest democracy and the world’s largest democracy,” he added.Cameron highlighted a stop at the Gandhi statue in Parliament Square among the many “important visits and many important discussions” to take place over the course of the three-day visit by Modi starting on Thursday.On a lighter note, he made reference to the massive community reception planned at Wembley Stadium on Friday where Modi is expected to address a crowd of 60,000. “I don’t know what magic that is as I struggle to fill Wembley town hall,” he joked. Stressing on the importance of India and the UK working together, he said: “We both face so many of the same challenges, whether it is fighting terrorism and Islamist extremism, which has done so much damage to India and to Britain.”We must stand and have that fight together, whether it is fighting climate change, entrenched poverty, or finding jobs and livelihoods for our young people and growth in our cities. These are challenges that Britain and India can face together in a thoroughly modern partnership.”

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