Cameron calls for strengthening of India-UK economic ties

      British Prime Minister David Cameron here on Thursday said that it was time for the United Kingdom to strengthen its special relationship with India and take it to a higher level, which would translate into economic benefits for both the countries in the coming years. He said that the two countries could together explore a lot of opportunities for growth in each other’s markets. “I think there are lots of partnership opportunities. Britain is actually rebuilding some of its manufacturing, thanks to Indian investment. TATA is now the largest manufacturer in Britain . We think there are opportunities, though we will be discussing them in some of the meetings we are having today,” said Cameron. “Just like Britain , India too has a very open economy and a welcoming investment. We think in areas like banking and insurance and retail, there are further opportunities for openness,” he added. The British Prime Minister further said the bilateral ties between India and Britain were aimed at generating more job opportunities for the people of both the countries. “Past and future gives us the potential to achieve what we all want, which is strong economic growth, so that we provide well paid jobs and good livelihoods for our people. That is the aim of all of this. We talk about trade missions, but they are really jobs missions,” said Cameron. “They are jobs missions for Britain , they are jobs missions for India and we have to defeat the argument that says that one country’s exports are bad for another country. In trade we can all win, we can all benefit by baking a bigger cake. A bigger cake here in India , a bigger cake in Britain , jobs for our people. That is what it is all about,” he added. “This is a new Government, but I think we have been very consistent. I came here when I became the leader of the Opposition, my first major visit in 2006, and then I spoke about building this special relationship. It was in our manifesto, the Queen's speech. The one country that was singled out for special relation was Britain and India . So, I think we have been absolutely consistent in saying that it is good already but it can be better,” he said. On the occasion, India ’s Union Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma said both India and Britain share a distinct relationship that reflects shared beliefs and values of the two countries. “We have shared values, commitment to democracy, law-based, rule-based, rule governed societies. The same time as two democracies, which have a role to play in the twenty-first century, our engagement is multi-sectoral, not restricted to one,” said Sharma. “As British Prime Minister David Cameron has said, I quote his words from a newspaper article yesterday, redefine and re-launch the relationship with India . And it has registered with India , you can see the presence here and it is multi-layered, when you look at the engagement among the political leaders, between the business leaders and also institutional linkages,” he added. As a major step towards boosting defence ties, Cameron sealed a major 1.1 billion USD aircraft deal, on Wednesday, enabling the UK's premier defence manufacturers, British Aerospace ( BAE ) Systems, to supply 57 Hawk Jets to the Indian Air Force and Indian Navy. India belongs to the 'BRIC' group of rapidly growing emerging economies along with China , Brazil and Russia . Cameron has often lamented that Britain trades more with Ireland than it does with all the BRICs combined and he has vowed to remedy that with vigorous pro-trade diplomacy. His visit is not intended to yield any immediate deals between the two governments, but is rather seen as the dawn of a long-term British strategy to focus relations with India on economic exchanges.

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