M A I N   N E W S

PM, Blair for ‘global effort’ to tackle terrorism
Naveen Kapoor

London, October 10
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his British counterpart Tony Blair on Tuesday called for a “coherent global effort with shared perspectives and commitments” to combat the menace of terrorism.

Addressing a joint press conference after a one-to-one meeting and delegation-level talks at 10, Downing Street, Dr Manmohan Singh said, “Our cooperation in combating terrorism has become particularly significant. We agreed that there is a need for a coherent global effort with shared perspectives and commitments to combat terrorism wherever and whenever such attacks take place.” Citing the July 11 Mumbai serial blasts and the July 7, 2005 London serial bomb attacks as examples of what was required to tackle the menace, Dr Manmohan Singh said both incidents were reminders of the “common terrorist threats we face”.

Responding to a query on the India-Pakistan joint mechanism to combat terrorism in South Asia, Dr Manmohan Singh said, “We will take advantage of the joint mechanism and we will give Pakistan credible evidence (about outfits perpetrating such acts from the latter’s soil).” In his response, Mr Blair said both London and New Delhi had experienced terrorism, and it was important that both work together over the issue.

“Terrorism should not be tolerated, whether it is in Mumbai, London or Srinagar. No country, no government, no state should support it, and obviously the meeting that the Indian Prime Minister had with (Pakistan) President Musharraf in Havana has had a positive outcome. Terrorism should not stop decent people from making progress,” said Mr Blair.

Commenting on the status of business relations between the two countries, Dr Manmohan Singh said there was tremendous opportunity for further expansion of economic linkages even though they were strong and were moving in the right direction.

“We are particularly glad that the United Kingdom views the rapid growth of India as an opportunity that can be used for mutual benefit. In fact, United Kingdom Business and Industry should look more closely at opportunities unfolding with the quiet but substantive manufacturing revolution taking place in India,” Dr Manmohan Singh added.

He further added that while the UK was India’s fourth largest trading partner and the fifth largest source of foreign investment into India, India has emerged to become the third largest investor in the UK in terms of number of projects.

He underlined the fact that the foreign direct investment (FDI) flows from India to the UK have exceeded those from the UK into India since 2004.

“India and United Kingdom have revitalized cooperation in scientific research and sought ways to link science and innovation with enterprise. We feel the time is right to expand collaboration in knowledge-based industry and to stimulate greater investments into India by both large corporations and small and medium enterprises," said Dr Manmohan Singh.

He went on to say that as a knowledge economy, India places great value on respecting Intellectual Property Rights issues and data security and protection.

Besides trade, Dr Manmohan Singh expressed hope about stepping up cooperation in new fields like education and healthcare.

“Increased cultural exchanges and facilitating the movement of peoples between our countries need to be encouraged,” he said.

He confirmed that both leaders had conducted a “useful review” of issues of global importance and concern particularly the future of the Doha Round of the WTO negotiations.

“We also shared perspectives on developments in our regions as well as on issues relating to energy security and climate change in which the Prime Minister himself taken a lead in drawing global attention to these crucial issues,” said Dr Manmohan Singh.

Mr Blair said that he was “pleased” with the state of Anglo-Indian relations.

He said that half a million Indians visited the UK every year, and that Britain was the third largest investor in India.

He also confirmed that the situation arising out of the North Korea nuclear test was discussed.

“Since the last few years, we have tightened up the proliferation regime and the transfer of technology and there have been some significant outcomes. There are countries that have come out of the cold, countries like Libya, the network of A.Q. Khan has been shutdown,” said Mr Blair.

When asked how would he differentiate between the nuclear tests carried out by India and Pakistan on the one hand (in May 1998) and the one carried out by North Korea on the other, Mr Blair said, “The difference between the countries like Britain or countries like India and a country like North Korea is that we are democracies, we abide by the rule of law and international obligations. North Korea is doing none of these things. This is, of course, a matter of judgement.”

Dr Manmohan Singh said New Delhi was supportive of emergent nuclear states, and in an indirect reference to Pakistan, added “India’s own security has suffered due to clandestine proliferation emanating from our neighbourhood.”

Referring to the areas where the UK and India can work together, Mr Blair said, “We have a strong relationship based on shared values and shared interests and upon a common perception about the future and how people live and work together.”

After the joint press conference, both Prime Ministers left to address the India-UK Investment Summit.

The summit which is jointly organised by CII, FICCI and UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) under the Indo British Partnership, aims to strengthen symbiotic business linkages, create synergy and enhance the still untapped potential of the economic relationship between India and the UK. The summit will be chaired by Lord Bilimoria of Chelsea, co-chair of IBP.

The summit will have interactive sessions on bilateral investments and what the two countries can do to attract investments from each other. There will also be specific discussions on small and medium enterprises and manufacturing during the summit.

An attractive feature will be the CEOs dialogues on energy, infrastructure, financial services, information and communication technology, life sciences and healthcare.

As a proportion of total UK-World goods trade, both UK exports to India and imports from India increased between 1992 and 2005 — from 0.9 per cent to 1.3 per cent for exports, and from 0.7 per cent to one percentage point for imports.

Indian companies nearly doubled their investments in Britain during 2005-06 to emerge as the third largest overseas investor in the UK. According to the UK Inward Investment Report 2006, Indian companies invested 1.02 billion pounds in 76 investment projects during the year, the release said.

Some of the major items of bilateral trade in goods included non - metallic minerals, gold, power generating and telecom equipment, industrial machinery, textiles, readymade garments, gems and jewellery, footwear and metal manufactures. — ANI



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