NEW DELHI: United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson on the second day of his India visit, stated that India is a great democracy and is very different from autocracies around the world.
Responding to India's democratic backsliding, PM Johnson said that the country has constitutional protections for all its communities. Praising his friendship with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the UK PM asserted that they have tough discussions on serious issues like -- human rights or democratic values in a friendly way.
'India is a great great democracy': UK PM Boris Johnson
"If I talk about Human rights and democratic values. Of course, we have this conversation but the advantage of our friendship is that we can have them in a friendly and private way. It is very important to realise that India has constitutional protection of communities which is part of their constitution," said the UK PM.
"India is a very different country from autocracies around the world. It is a great great democracy and that's why it is a stunning shining fact. 1.35 billion people live under democracy, which is something to celebrate, and that offers us an opportunity for closer cooperation and partnership. That doesn't mean I am not going to raise tough questions. We do that as friends," he added.
UK PM Boris Johnson meets PM Modi
On Friday morning, PM Modi received Boris Johnson at the Rashtrapati Bhavan in Delhi as the British PM kicked off the second day of his India visit. Both the leaders held delegation-level talks at the Hyderabad House in Delhi and signed various trade agreements. While Johnson's visit to India is being scrutinised for various elements of vital importance to bilateral ties, his references to India and Indian aspects were noteworthy.
During the joint press briefing of Boris Johnson and PM Modi, the British leader deemed Narendra Modi as his 'khaas dost' ('special friend'). "I don't think the things have ever been as strong or as good between us (India-UK) as they are now," the UK PM said, expressing gratitude for his 'fantastic welcome'. Elaborating on the same, he stated that he was made to feel akin to celebrities such as Sachin Tendulkar and Amitabh Bachchan.
UK PM Boris Johnson 'felt like Sachin Tendulkar & Amitabh Bachchan' upon welcome in India
The MoUs were signed after PM Modi met his British counterpart during the latter's India visit. Both the premiers held talks aimed at further bolstering cooperation in areas of defence, trade, and clean energy. There were also discussions on a post-Brexit free trade deal, which the UK claimed will be negotiated and materialised before Diwali.