Queen hosts lunch for NaMo at Buckingham Palace

Prime Minister Narendra Modi today met Queen Elizabeth II over lunch for the first time during his much-anticipated visit to the UK that saw Britain and India ink deals worth 9-billion pounds.

Modi arrived at the Buckingham Palace in a Jaguar – built by the Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) – on the second day of his maiden three-day visit to the UK.

The 89-year-old Queen greeted Modi at the Grand Entrance of her London palace, shaking hands with him before they moved on to inspect items from the Royal Collection, brought out specially for the Indian Prime Minister’s visit.

While a ceremonial ride in a gilded carriage with the Queen associated with an official state visit was missing for Modi, the more intimate setting of a lunch with her had been stressed upon as an indication of the closeness of the ties between India and the UK.

Modi’s gifts

Modi presented some photographs as a gift to Her Majesty The Queen taken 54 years ago from her first visit to India in January-February 1961.

When the Queen visited in 1961, she was the Chief Guest at the Republic Day parade in New Delhi. During the visit, Her Majesty had also visited some other cities including Varanasi, Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Udaipur, Kolkata, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Chennai.

Taken on January 31, 1961, the first photograph shows her visiting the Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad, one day after the commemoration of the 13th death anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. The second photograph was taken on February 19, 1961 in Chennai, showing Her Majesty at a reception in her honour by the then State of Madras where she was presented a cake to mark the first birthday of Royal Highness Prince Andrew, the Duke of York.

The third photograph was taken on February 25, 1961 and shows Her Majesty riding an elephant in a procession to Balua Ghat in Varanasi, the Prime Minister’s parliamentary constituency. Another photo, taken on February 24, 1961, shows her visiting the Atomic Energy Centre at Trombay.

In addition, Prime Minister Modi also presented to Her Majesty some award-winning Darjeeling tea from Makaibari tea estate in West Bengal, fine organic honey from Jammu and Kashmir, and Tanchoi stoles that are a specialty of Varanasi.

After the lunch, Modi will head to the iconic Wembley Stadium to address a 60,000-strong audience at the ‘UK Welcomes Modi’ event.

Yesterday, India and the UK announced deals worth 9- billion pound as they inked a civil nuclear pact and decided to collaborate in defence and cyber security besides launching a railway rupee bond in London market.

(With inputs from agencies)

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