New Delhi: Britain is considering opening a full-fledged consulate in Gujarat. British High Commissioner James Bevan spoke exclusively to CNN-IBN on Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and how Maya Kodnani had a role in ending Britain's political boycott of the chief minister.
"Since 2002 one of the things that has happened is that a judicial process has gone forward and that has resulted in the prosecution and conviction of people including a leading former member of Mr Modi's government, and that was one of the reasons that gave us confidence that progress was being made in producing justice for the victims of the riots," Bevan said.
When asked whether the fact that Narendra Modi could be the BJP's Prime Ministerial candidatem was a factor, Bevan said this was not the case. "No it wasn't actually. The driving determinant in our decision to re-engage was a calculation about the UK's national interests," Bevan said.
Modi had met James Bevan in October in Ahmedabad as the UK ended its boycott of Gujarat. Diplomatic ties between the UK and Gujarat were strained after the 2002 Gujarat riots in which 3 British nationals were killed. British officials were banned from meeting with Modi.
Earlier, the British government had asked Bevan to visit Gujarat and meet Modi and other senior figures in the state to discuss a wide range of issues of mutual interest, explore opportunities for closer cooperation and secure "justice for the families of the British nationals killed in 2002".
"Der aaye, durasta aaye (Better late than never)!! I welcome UK govt's step for active engagement & strengthening relations with Gujarat. God is Great," Modi had tweeted, reacting to news. Post-Godhra riots, the UK took a policy decision not to have active engagement with Gujarat. Modi, since 2003, has not visited Britain.