Britain's minister of employment, Priti Patel, will start a three-day visit to India on 7 January, during which she is expected to take part in an awards ceremony that celebrates the contribution of overseas Indians to the development of the country.
The Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (Non-Resident Indian Day) is celebrated on 9 January every year, the anniversary of the day that Mahatma Gandhi returned to India from South Africa in 1915. A two-day forum is held to provide a platform for non-residential Indians to engage with government officials, commencing in an award ceremony. The event also acts as an opportunity for the Indian diaspora from around the world to discuss issues that affect them.
Patel is due to attend this year's event in New Delhi, alongside visiting Ahmedabad and Kolkata. Her trip will mark the first visit to India from a British minister in 2016.
A statement from the British High Commission in India said: "Her visit aims to build on the momentum created by Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to the UK in November 2015. She will also extend the UK's commitment to support Modi's Skills India project and formally open the UK's newest diplomatic mission in India."
During her time in Ahmedabad, Patel will be inaugurating India's new British Deputy High Commission. The inauguration will mark India's seventh British Deputy High Commission and officially make the UK the country with the largest diplomatic network in India. The UK currently acts as the largest source of foreign direct investment in Gujarat and Patel is due to hold meetings with state officials on enhancing bilateral trade and investment, technology and cultural ties between the UK and Gujarat.
Patel will then inaugurate the Bengal Global Business Summit in Kolkata and meet Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in an attempt to strengthen Bengal-UK business and cultural ties. Patel will also be launching the Roadmap on low-carbon and climate-resilient Kolkata strategy a paper that the Kolkata Municipal Corporation and the UK have worked on to create a "future climate-smart Kolkata".
Patel said: "The UK and India are two great nations that share the same values: whoever you are, if you work hard and get on, the government will be on your side. We are supporting Prime Minister Modi to achieve his goal of preparing young Indians everywhere for the 21<sup>st century."