India very important for Britain’s future, says Cameron

Bangalore, July 28 (IANS) British Prime Minister David Cameron Wednesday declared that India was very important for his country’s future, especially on the economic front.

‘India has become very important for our future, mainly for economic reasons as your country represents an enormous opportunity for our companies,’ Cameron told about 2,000 techies and captains of India Inc in the Infosys Technologies Ltd campus on the outskirts of this tech hub.

Cameron said he wanted to see thousands of more jobs in Britain and in India through partnerships and investments in the months and years ahead.

‘The core purpose of my visit this time is to create opportunities for generating many more jobs in my country as well as in India,’ Cameron said in his 30-minute address on a cloudy afternoon.

Indian companies employ about 90,000 people in Britain while many more jobs in Britain exist because of the large presence of British firms in India.

Recalling an adage at the height of the Industrial Revolution in the US, when the trend was to say ‘Go West, Young Man, to find opportunity and fortune’, Cameron said ‘today’s investors and entrepreneurs should go East’.

India matters to the world because it’s not only a rising power, but also a responsible global power. Time has come for India to take the seat it deserves in the United Nations Security Council, Cameron pointed out.

Noting that he had brought with him the biggest business delegation any of his predecessors had in the recent memory, Cameron said that the size (about 100) was to demonstrate how serious he was to take the relationship between Britain and India to the next level.

There are three major global challenges that Britain and India have a duty to meet together – challenges that should shape our relationship. The first is economic, second is ensuring security and third is climate change.

‘In the past couple of years, we have seen nothing less than global economic carnage. Collapsed banks. Massive government deficits. Huge unemployment. Tumbling currencies. Trade dented. Businesses lost. Livelihoods destroyed.’

‘In Britain, we suffered our longest and deepest recession since the war and are now trying to get to grips with our highest-ever peacetime deficit,’ Cameron recalled.

He admitted that he was not ashamed to say one of the reasons why he was in India was to attract more foreign investment into Britain.

‘There are some important things we can do straight away – and I’m going to be discussing them with Prime Minister Singh Thursday,’ he noted.

The ‘things’ are: science and innovation scholarships, sponsored by Rolls Royce; extending the successful UK-India education and research initiative and encouraging the twinning of top universities with the 14 new innovation universities India plans to create.

‘Since we have welcomed Indian expertise in car manufacturing and steel production, we want you to reduce the barriers to foreign investment in banking, insurance, defence manufacturing and legal services – and reap the benefits,’ Cameron added.

Cameron also wants India to sign a free trade agreement (FTA) by this year-end and hammer a global deal on trade too, with a potential to generate about $170 billion additional revenue.

‘If Bangalore is the city that symbolises India’s reawakening, Infosys has good claim to be the company. There’s energy and passion about this place that I have to say is awe-inspiring,’ Cameron said, lauding the contribution of the Indian IT industry, including bellwether Infosys, Wipro and TCS.

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