Halol: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Thursday said his country has already raised the Ukraine war issue with Prime Minister Narendra Modi at a diplomatic level, and added that everybody understands that India and Russia shared “very different relationships historically”.
Johnson’s visit to India comes at a time when India has taken a neutral stand on the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and amid the criticism by western countries, especially the US, that India was not taking a clear stance against Russia.
“Well, we have already raised the issue of Ukraine with Prime Minister Narendra Modi diplomatically. Actually, they (India) were very strong in condemnation of atrocities in Bucha (city in Ukraine),” Johnson told reporters in Halol in Panchmahals district of Gujarat, where he opened a new JCB factory as part his two-day visit to India.
“I think everybody understands that India and Russia have historically had very different relationships, like Russia and the UK had in the last couple of decades,” Johnson further said while replying to a question whether he will raise the issue of India’s stand on Ukraine with PM Modi.
“We have to reflect that reality while talking about it (Ukraine) to Narendra Modi,” he further said.
Johnson opened JCB’s latest factory in India with a 100 million pound investment, which will fabricate parts for global production lines. With 11 factories in the UK employing more than 7,500 people, JCB first began manufacturing in India in 1979 and is now the country’s leading producer of construction equipment.
“Yes, I am looking forward to our conversation. We will talk about trade, security and about issues of importance,” Johnson later told reporters in Ahmedabad when asked about the agenda of his meeting with Modi.
“It (the trip) has been absolutely fantastic so far and it’s great to be here in Gujarat. Gujarat is a great place and you know that we have a huge Gujarati community which is like a living bridge between India and UK,” Johnson said.
Before coming to India, the British PM had said that the focus of his visit was of trade agreement with India.
Johnson arrived in Ahmedabad on Thursday morning to start his India visit, and was accorded a grand welcome along the four-km route from the airport to a hotel in the city. He later visited the Sabarmati Ashram, also known as Gandhi Ashram. He then held a meeting with industrialist Gautam Adani.
He will travel to Delhi on Friday, where he will hold talks with PM Modi.