British-Indian employment minister Priti Patel visits India to celebrate Pravasi Bharatiya Divas

Britain’s minister of employment, Priti Patel, will start a three-day visit to India on 7 January, during which she is expected to take part in an awards ceremony that celebrates the contribution of overseas Indians to the development of the country.

The Pravasi Bharatiya Divas this year also marks the celebration of 100 years since Mahatma Gandhi returned to Gujarat from South Africa. In addition to bilateral meetings and formal engagements at the PBD, the minister will therefore pay her respects to Mahatma Gandhi in a visit to the Sabarmati Ashram, from where he led the Salt March in 1930.

The British Indian politician, who will visit Ahmedabad, Kolkata and New Delhi from January 7 to 9, will be the first British minister to visit India in 2016, the British High Commission said in a statement on Wednesday. “Her visit aims to build on the momentum created by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the UK in November 2015,”

During her time in Ahmedabad, Patel will be inaugurating India’s new British Deputy High Commission. The inauguration will mark India’s seventh British Deputy High Commission and officially make the UK the country with the largest diplomatic network in India.


During her visit, the minister will speak at the inaugural session of the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas alongside External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Youth Minister Sarbanand Sonwal, and will meet with business leaders and speak at the Gujarat Chamber of Commerce. She will also hold meetings with senior most government officials.

The UK currently acts as the largest source of foreign direct investment in Gujarat and Patel is due to hold meetings with state officials on enhancing bilateral trade and investment, technology and cultural ties between the UK and Gujarat.

Patel will then inaugurate the Bengal Global Business Summit in Kolkata and meet Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in an attempt to strengthen Bengal-UK business and cultural ties. Patel will also be launching the Roadmap on low-carbon and climate-resilient Kolkata strategy a paper that the Kolkata Municipal Corporation and the UK have worked on to create a “future climate-smart Kolkata”.

Patel said: “The UK and India are two great nations that share the same values: whoever you are, if you work hard and get on, the government will be on your side. We are supporting Prime Minister Modi to achieve his goal of preparing young Indians everywhere for the 21st century.”