Mr Arun Jaitley, the Indian Finance Minister, is set to unveil the new statue of Mahatma Gandhi this Saturday as part of a two day visit to the UK.
The unveiling ceremony in London’s Parliament Square ton March 14 will be open to members of the public, who will be the first to see the historic statue. The ceremony will feature personal reflections from Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson, and former Governor of West Bengal, Shri Gopalkrishna Gandhi. It will also be attended by Lord and Lady Desai of the Gandhi Statue Memorial Trust.
This will be Mr Jaitley’s first official visit to the UK as finance minister and the programme reflects the broad and deepening relationship enjoyed by India and the UK. This close partnership and co-operation between the UK and India is generating more jobs, growth and security for our two nations.
During his visit, Mr Jaitley will also meet the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, and Culture Secretary, Sajid Javid, in order to discuss the development of closer UK-India ties. Shri Jaitley will also meet with top business leaders and investors.
Mr Jaitley said: “It is with great pleasure that I have accepted Prime Minister Cameron’s invitation to attend the inauguration of the new statue of Gandhi in Parliament Square in London. Mahatma Gandhi will be honoured in this most prestigious location for his work in peacefully leading India’s struggle for independence.
“The statue will help ensure that the legacy of Gandhi lives on for future generations. It also marks an important, historic moment celebrating the strong bond between our two nations. India and the UK share the same values and we are a partnership of equals. This lasting friendship is just one of many legacies left by Gandhi, which I am keen that we work hard to strengthen further.”
UK Culture Secretary Sajid Javid said: “I am delighted Shri Jaitley is coming to the UK to unveil this historic statue. The UK and India have strong links and I look forward to discussing ways both our countries can further prosper by working together. The relationship we have today with India is one that Mahatma Gandhi dreamed of – as friends and equals.”