India, Britain to boost trade, discuss civil n-cooperation

Last Updated: Tue, Feb 19, 2013 11:20 hrs

New Delhi, Feb 19 (IANS) India and Britain Tuesday decided to launch negotiations on a civil nuclear agreement and boost trade as visiting British Prime Minister David Cameron and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh held wide-ranging talks on a wide gamut of issues, including regional and global issues.

Cameron, who is here on a three-day visit at the head of the biggest ever 100-member delegation, and Manmohan Singh held talks in the morning after the British prime minister arrived from Mumbai in the morning.

Manmohan Singh said: "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."'

He also sought Cameron's support for ensuring 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".

Cameron emphasized that their bilateral relations has "all the potential of growth" in the decades ahead. "It is a strong partnership that we want to build together.. we are on track to double our trade to 23 billion pounds by 2015," he said, and added that Britain is looking to open British trade offices all over India. "We want to open a pan India network of British trade offices by 2017,"

Cameron also said he was "excited to examine" with India business prospects around the Bangalore-Mumbai industrial corridor.

On the EU-India FTA, he said they would do "what extra we can to make the deal"

He also elaborated on the steps Britain is taking to boost trade, including reducing barriers to investment. Britain is bringing in same-day visa service and re-writing rules of sharing technology. Both sides have a new collaboration on cyber security.

Both sides also agreed to further intensify cooperation in fighting terrorism and also discussed issues in our immediate neighbourhood, including Iran and West Asia.

They also emphasized on the need for a "stable and secure Pakistan, which is at peace with itself and its neighbours and has eradicated the threat that terrorism poses.. and that must include to bring to justice the perpetrators of the 26/11 attacks.. and we will work together to that end," Cameron said.

Afghanistan also figured in the talks, with Britain saying that "it will not abandon Afghanistan" and will continue to support Kabul even after the troops have left. Britain will work to bring long term economic security and development to Afghanistan to prevent it becoming a haven for terrorists.

They also discussed Sri Lanka and the need for "free and fair elections" in Maldives, where the former president Mohamed Nasheed has been staying in the Indian High Commission in Male since Feb 13.

Both sides also discussed Myanmar and Iran

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