UK, India seek to reboot bilateral relationship

November 13, 2015 08:38
Indian leader Narendra Modi is flanked by British Prime Minister David Cameron (right) and London Mayor Boris Johnson in front of Tower Bridge in London on Thursday. Photo: Reuters

Britain and India sought to reboot bilateral ties with plans to strengthen collaboration in finance, business, defense and energy as Prime Minister Narendra Modi made his first official visit to the former colonial power.

At a joint news conference on the first day of Modi’s visit Thursday, Prime Minister David Cameron said Indian and British companies had agreed on new collaborations worth more than 9 billion pounds (US$14 billion) but there was scope to go much further, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Cameron said for years the relationship between the two countries appeared to have been imprisoned by the past and there were misconceptions that trade with India was simply about outsourcing.

“I think it is time to set this relationship free from those misconceptions and from the past and recognize that this is a modern dynamic partnership of two countries who face similar challenges,” he said, citing economic growth and the threat of terrorism as examples.

Modi’s plans for developing new cities, digital technology and improving skills of Indians offered huge opportunities for British business, Cameron said.

Modi stressed on the huge importance that India places on its relationship with Britain. 

“We will continue to consider the UK as our entry point into the European Union,” he said.

Cameron said Britain wanted to become India’s leading partner in arranging finance for Modi’s development plans and make London the world center for offshore rupee trading.

Indian entities planned to issue more than 1 billion pounds of bonds in London including the first ever government-backed rupee-denominated bond, he said.

The bond will raise funds for India’s state railways, the newspaper said.

-- Contact us at [email protected]