New Delhi: Britain, which has recently warmed up to Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, made it clear today that any engagement with him was not an endorsement.
UK High Commissioner James Bevan said that he was not "in the awe of the man or his past" and that "any engagement (with Modi) does not necessarily mean endorsement."
Bevan's remarks, during an interaction with a gathering at Jamia Millia Islamia University here after delivering a lecture, came only days after India groups of the country's two main political parties --Labour Party and the Conservative Party -- invited Modi to visit London to speak on "The Future of Modern India".
"It is a private invitation issued to the Gujarat Chief Minister by the members of British Parliament. The members of British Parliament are free to invite whoever they wish to invite. This is not an official invitation. This means that the British government has not extended the invitation to the Chief Minister," Bevan said.
The UK top envoy also expressed concern over alleged human rights violation in Gujarat, saying, "We do have human rights concerns. Three UK citizens were also killed in the riots and we want trial and justice for that. Engaging in conversation would be better to support our cause."
Referring to his meeting with Modi last October, Bevan said, "I had a conversation with Gujarat Chief Minister in last October and it is good to know important people in a country. I am not in awe of the man or his past, I am here to do my job and any engagement does not necessarily mean endorsement."
Asked whether Modi will be granted visa if he applies for it, he refused a direct reply and said, "It's a hypothetical situation, so I would not like to comment on that."
UK had last year ended a 10-year boycott of the BJP leader in the aftermath of 2002 communal riots.
Earlier this year, European Union also ended its decade- old boycott of Modi over the riots issue when envoys and representatives of several EU member countries hosted a luncheon meeting for Modi here.