British PM supports Gandhi statue in London

By Anasudhin Azeez,

London : British Prime Minister David Cameron has offered support to the Gandhi Statue Memorial Trust’s initiative to install a statue of Mahatma Gandhi at London’s prestigious Parliament Square.

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The prime minister told Asian Lite newspaper that the decision to install a statue of India’s Father of the nation at Parliament Square along with Winston Churchill and Nelosn Mandela is wise and timely.

“Lots of reasons for the Gandhi statue to be installed at the British Parliament,” Cameron said.

“One is the importance of Gandhi to Indian history and the importance of Gandhi’s teachings of non-violence and peaceful protests. I always remember Gandhi’s message to journalists: ‘If you to find yourself, you should lose yourself in the service of others and you should be the change that you want to see in the world’.”

The prime minister said, through the initiative, Britain is cementing its historical connection with India.

“A statue of Mahatma Gandhi standing alongside Churchill and Mandela at Parliament Square is highly appropriate and I am highly delighted that we have have done this relatively quickly as sometimes the statues take a long time to be commissioned,” Cameron added.

The British prime minister said the teachings of Gandhi are relevant to anyone who wants to try to build a bigger and stronger society alongside a prosperous economy.

The prime minister also lauded the contribution of British-Asians to the socio-economic sectors of the country.

“Looking at Britain’s history, the Asian community plays an absolutely key part in Britain’s economy,” the prime minister said.

“It is going to be that SMEs are going to create more jobs in future. People like Dr. Rami Ranger are role models for the younger generation to emulate. His story is extraordinary. An educated young-man coming to England with lots of principles and ambitions but nothing in the pocket.

“He became a successful businessman winning five Queens Award for Enterprise. He is serving the community long with his family. His daughter is a local councillor. I believe our country is an opportunity democracy where you can be successful from nothing to something. We unveiled several business schemes (and) the BME (black and minority ethnic) communities are one of the best beneficiaries. Twenty five percent of the start-up loans have gone to the BME communities, (and that ) shows entrepreneurship in this community.”

Cameron said his government will create more economic ties with India if he is getting a second term in office in the May elections.

“India is one of the rising powers of the world, we should really try to work together,” the prime minister said.

“The Relationship with India is much stronger now. India invests more into Britain than anywhere in Europe and there is a rise of five billion pounds (over $7.5 billion) since I became the prime minister. Britain is the number one European investor into India and I am sure we can do better in trade.”

“The new government will cement and create more economic ties with India especially in the fields of infrastructure, smart cities, corridors for enterprising economic development,” Cameron said. “Britain and India also should work towards a common foreign policy to challenges of our time like terrorism and climate change.”

The prime minister said he is looking forward to meet his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi in Britain.

“I hope it wouldn’t be too long,” he added. “I think the next stage would be very exciting.”

(Anasudhin Azeez can be contacted at [email protected])