Kolkata, Nov 14 IANS | 8 months ago

Renewing age-old colonial links with Kolkata which was once the capital of British India, visiting British Prime Minister David Cameron Thursday said the expanding metropolis presented big opportunities for his nation in sectors like infrastructure and city planning, besides cleaning of rivers and waterways.


Cameron, who made a six-hour stopover in the city, the Indian capital till 1912 under colonial rule, strolled by British-era landmarks like the Howrah Bridge and Howrah Station, besides a trip to the Akashvani Bhawan (city headquarters of public broadcaster All India Radio).

Lauding the city for producing some of the greatest intelligent brains, he specifically mentioned Nobel laureates poet-philosopher Rabindranath Tagore and economist Amartya Sen, as also eminent physicist Satyendra Nath Bose, after whom the sub-atomic particle Higgs boson has been partially named.

"Obviously in Kolkata, we think of the ties of the past, the ties of language, and the ties of culture. But mostly I think of the future," he said.

Cameron's visit coincided with West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's promise to improve facilities in the city at par with London and her efforts to beautify the Ganga river front.

"I think there are big opportunities. Your city is expanding. There is a huge need for infrastructure and for city planning, something that Britain has expertise in. Enormous amount of work is going on.

"You are thinking about how to clean up rivers and waterways. We had to do it in Britain about river Thames and others," Cameron said while interacting with students at the Indian Institute of Management-Calcutta.

Describing IIM-C as one of the best of its kind in the world, Cameron spoke about the city's "great tradition of education" and said many British centres of learning were keen to partner Indian universities.

"We have the option of not only Oxford and Cambridge but others also, many of them looking to start up and partner Indian universities," the prime minister said.

Hoping that India will continue to open up its economy, Cameron said it would make it easier for British investment in infrastructure, universities and insurance.

"Many of these areas are championed here in Kolkata."

(Posted on 14-11-2013)