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PM's statement on Cameron visit

Posted on Feb 19, 04:43PM | IBNS

New Delhi, Feb 19 : Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's Media Statement during the visit of Prime Minister of UK David Cameron to India:

Your Excellency Prime Minister Cameron,

Ladies and Gentlemen of the Media,

It gives me great pleasure to welcome Prime Minister David Cameron on his Official Visit to India. Prime Minister Cameron's strong personal commitment and leadership has imparted a strong momentum to the strategic partnership between India and the U.K. His first visit to India as Prime Minister in 2010, a few months after he assumed office, laid the foundation of our Enhanced Partnership for the Future, which is defined by a high level of economic and technological cooperation and close coordination on many common regional and global challenges.

This morning, Prime Minister Cameron and I reviewed the entire expanse of our bilateral relations. We expressed satisfaction with progress in our economic engagement, while stressing the need to do more to take the relationship to a new level. We discussed ways to generate higher growth in our trade. I invited increased British investments in India, including in infrastructure and energy. We have asked our officials to explore British participation in India's National Manufacturing and Investment Zones and in a possible industrial corridor in the Mumbai-Bangalore sector.

I have sought Prime Minister Cameron's support in ensuring an early conclusion of a fair, balanced and forward looking Broad-based India-EU Trade and Investment Agreement, which will open new opportunities for trade and investment between our two countries.

We discussed the prospects of enhanced cooperation in the development of the defence industrial base of India through greater emphasis on technology transfer, co-development and co-production.

I also conveyed to Prime Minister Cameron our very serious concerns regarding allegations about unethical means used in securing the 2010 contract for Agusta Westland helicopters. I told him that we have sought an explanation from the company by February 22 to examine if the contractual provisions on unethical practices and the Integrity Pact have been violated. I have sought full assistance from the U.K. in this case. Prime Minister Cameron has assured me of the cooperation of his Government in the investigations.

Education and science and technology are special areas of India-UK cooperation. I have impressed upon PM Cameron the need for a visa regime that facilitates greater movement of people between our two countries so that this cooperation can be further energized.

I thanked Prime Minister Cameron for the UK's support for India's full membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group and other multilateral export control regimes. We have also decided to commence negotiations on a bilateral Civil Nuclear Agreement.

Prime Minister Cameron and I also had very candid and productive discussions on regional and global issues. We shared our perspectives on the security and political transition in Afghanistan. I conveyed India's enduring commitment to assist Afghanistan through the transition and beyond, by supporting its economic growth and regional economic integration and helping develop its capacity for governance, development and security in accordance with our strategic partnership agreement with Afghanistan. We also had productive discussions on other issues in our immediate neighbourhood, including Iran and West Asia. We agreed to further intensify our cooperation in combating terrorism. We have also increased our engagement on cyber security.

Prime Minister Cameron and I agreed that in keeping with our strategic relationship, it is important for our two sides to consult closely and remain sensitive to each other's interests.

Prime Minister Cameron's visit is another milestone in our bilateral relations. It has been a pleasure working with him and I look forward to continuing our mutual partnership.

Thank you.