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Birmingham Chamber of Commerce and Industry

July 1st, 2010

Manmohan Singh meets David Cameron

PM Dr. Manmohan Singh with British PM David Cameron, ahead of G-20 summit, June 25

Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh met his British counterpart David Cameron on June 26 and told him that India would like to see the international community make continued and concerted efforts to ensure global economic recovery.

The bilateral meeting, which took place on the sidelines of the fourth Group of Twenty (G-20) summit, saw both leaders sharing their views on G-20 developments and expressing satisfaction over the performance of India-U.K. ties.

Briefing mediapersons accompanying Dr. Singh on his two-day visit to Toronto, the government spokesman, Vishnu Prakash, said the meeting between Dr. Singh and Cameron was conducted in an atmosphere of great cordiality.

Prakash said that Dr. Singh congratulated Prime Minister Cameron on his electoral victory on May 6, and said that he looked forward to the latter’s visit to India in July.

He further said that both leaders expressed satisfaction over the positive “trajectory” that this bilateral relationship was taking and hoped that the strategic partnership forged between the two countries during Prime Minister Tony Blair’s visit to India in 2005 would be further strengthened.

The spokesman further said that the United Kingdom was the largest investor in India, adding that Indo-British trade was worth over $13 billion. He said that Dr. Singh had told his British counterpart that he would like to see more U.K. investments in India.

According to Prakash, Cameron had told Dr. Singh that Indian students were the second-largest student grouping in Britain and that he would like to see more Indian students coming to the U.K. for higher studies.

The two leaders discussed the regional situation, such as developments taking place in Afghanistan, the spokesman said.

Prakash said that Prime Minister Cameron reaffirmed his country’s support for granting India a permanent seat in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) as also for reform of UN institutions so that they were effectively more representative of the current world order.

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Anand Sharma visits United Kingdom

Minister of Commerce and Industry Anand Sharma with UK PM David Cameron;  Minister Sharma and UK PM with British Business Secretary Vince Cable

India conveyed to the British government concerns raised by its businesses and professionals about the newly-announced cap on labour immigration from outside the European Union.

Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma raised the issue during a meeting with British Prime Minister David Cameron in London, a Commerce Ministry statement released on June 29 said. Sharma, who headed a high powered CII delegation to U.K., called on Cameron on June 28 at 10, Downing Street. This was the first highlevel visit to U.K. by an Indian minister after the formation of the new government.

In his interaction, Cameron confirmed he had accepted an invitation extended by Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh to visit India in July.

Sharma expressed satisfaction at the recent pronouncement by the U.K. to have an “enhanced engagement” with India. Cameron expressed his keenness to have more Indian graduates come to the U.K.. He also expressed interest at the state of play in the Doha Round.

Sharma also had a substantive bilateral meeting with his counterpart Business Secretary Vincent Cable and David Willets, Minister for Universities and Science. Cable reiterated the commitment of the new government for a stronger partnership and emphasised collaboration in high technology, higher education, scientific research, renewable energy, green technology development and manufacturing, infrastructure and agro processing.

Sharma also had another meeting, with U.K. Foreign Secretary William Hague. During the course of the meeting, Hague emphasised Britain’s desire to give “a push to ties with India”.

Minister Sharma with British Foreign Secretary William Hague ; Minister Sharma speaking at the London School of Economics

Referring to Cameron’s forthcoming visit to India, Hague said that the Prime Minister was enthusiastically looking forward to the visit and would be accompanied by a large business delegation and ministers from the economic ministries. Hague added that his party has always been clear about India being a priority for the United Kingdom since the visit of Cameron to India in 2006 and that the U.K. and India were allies in the broader context including on issues like a permanent seat for India in an expanded UNSC.

Sharma expressed his concern over the issue of the proposed cap on non-EU migration into the U.K. and emphasised the need for greater movement of people to promote the growth of the services sector. Hague said that they were trying to ensure that operations of Indian companies remain unaffected as Britain remains interested in flow of highly qualified professionals from India.

Sharma also addressed the business community at a seminar organised by the CII at the London School of Economics on the “India’s Growth Imperatives”.

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