Friday, 6 August 2010

David Cameron in India

David Cameron's visit to India last week could well turn out to be one of the most important diplomatic trips of his time in number 10.

The commitment by both Governments to transform the nation’s relationship over the coming years is most welcome. Both leaders agreed that the India-UK relationship has great room for growth, in the political, cultural, security and economic realms that would be of benefit to both countries.

I am particularly pleased to see the commitment to significantly increase trade and investment between the 2 countries. I have long been calling for the level of interaction between the countries private sectors to be raised and am delighted that the UK-India CEO’s Forum is being set up under the Peter Sands of Standard Chartered and Rattan Tata of Tata Group (both CBC members of long standing) to provide the private sector perspective on strengthening the economic relationship. I look forward to working with the Forum in the future.

Hon Kamal Nath, India’s Minister for Road Transport speaking earlier this year at our India Infrastructure Forum (IIF) said the next 10 years will be India’s Infrastructure Decade. The opportunities offered by this are enormous, tackling India’s infrastructure deficit will require cooperation between the Indian government and the national and international private sector, and the UKs business should be leaders in this. To help push this Lord Adonis, the then UK Secretary of State for Transport, initiated a MoU between the Indian Government and the UK at the IIF to work together on road development, a process that was continued during the Prime Minister’s visit last week.

It is great to see the New British Prime Minister taking such an interest in strengthening the Bi-lateral relationship between the 2 countries, in a report we produced in 2008, and are currently in the process of updating, we found that the UK was India’s most significant investor, a trend we hope continues.

And finally I was delighted to see the strong commitment made by both Prime Ministers during their meeting to work together to ‘strengthen the Commonwealth’ as an important global body.

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