India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrives in Britain for a state visit today, the first since 2006, hoping to discuss millions of dollars worth of trade deals and promote India as a country for investment.

Modi is expected to have a hectic schedule, meeting David Cameron for talks today, being hosted at Chequers and visiting Tata Motors’ plant in the West Midlands before giving a speech at Wembley to India’s diaspora in Britain on Friday.

Modi recently suffered an electoral blow in the Bihar state, where his Bharatiya Janata Party were defeated after a campaign he played a strong role in. His office hopes that this visit to Britain will secure trade deals and prove himself as a figure worthy of the international stage.

David Cameron’s office said Britain would seek to promote London as a centre for offshore rupee bonds. Cameron has described the trip as “extraordinary”, saying in a statement:

“I am excited by this visit. I am excited by what Prime Minister Modi is doing in India and I’m excited about the partnership that we can build together.”

The UK and India have always had a strong investment ties, the most recent of which was made in September with the ‘Fintech 2020 India’ agreement. India and Britain will collaborate to create a ‘FinTech bridge’ between the two countries. Led by Alok Vajpeyi and Britain’s Startupbootcamp, it will encourage close partnership and investments in Britain and Indian FinTech companies, and help them expand globally.

However, Modi’s state visit to Britain is not without opposition.

Modi’s perceived Hindu nationalist political agenda had led more than 200 writers, including authors such as Salman Rushdie, Ian McEwan and Nikita Lalwani, to pen an open letter to David Cameron urging him to raise concerns about freedom of expression in India.

“We, the undersigned, are extremely concerned about the rising climate of fear, growing intolerance and violence towards critical voices who challenge orthodoxy or fundamentalism in India,” the letter said.

Similarly, a number of groups have announced a “day of protest” on Thursday, before his speech at Wembley on Friday, including those by the “Modi Not Welcome” campaign and CasteWatchUK.

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