Prime Minister Theresa May’s first official visit to India opens a new era of relations on both business, diplomatic and cultural fronts….reports Asian Lite News
India and Britain signed memoranda of understanding (MoUs) on intellectual property rights (IPR) and ease of doing business following the delegation-level talks led by Prime Ministers Narendra Modi and Theresa May at Hyderabad House in New Delhi.
Another highlight of the meeting is setting up a ministerial level initiative on home affairs issues including visas, return of illegal immigrants, extradition and organised crime.
2017 is Indo-UK year of culture and will witness several events to mark it.
Without naming Pakistan, Modi said he has discussed with May the challenges of cross-border terrorism and the need to take action against its sponsors.
In a joint address to the media following delegation-level talks, Modi said he discussed with May “ways to purposefully work together to combat the growing forces of radicalisation and terrorism”.
“We agreed that it is not a limited security challenge. Its arc of threat spreads across nations and regions. Terrorists move across borders with ease, and endanger the entire humanity,” he said.
“I conveyed our deep concerns to Prime Minister May regarding cross-border terrorism and the need for the international community to take strong action against states that support and sponsor terrorism.
Stating that India-Britain ties were “truly special”, Modi said that the enduring partnership was “nurtured by our shared values; extensive people to people linkages — lets not forget cricket here — widespread economic engagement for the prosperity of our societies; common efforts aimed at the security of our people; and a common vision for a peaceful and prosperous world”.
He said that growing business partnerships and expanding trade and capital flows between the two economies were crucial to the economic partnership.
“Indian companies have been successfully raising finance from the City of London,” he said.
“We are encouraged by the London Stock Exchange presently hosting several rupee-denominated Masala bonds. It reflects the strong investor confidence in the fast growing Indian economy.”
Modi said he also discussed defence and security partnership with May.
“I encourage British companies to look at the multiple opportunities in the Indian defence sector,” he stated.
“Looking beyond trade in defence equipment, I invite them to build partnerships with Indian enterprises that focus on manufacturing, technology transfer and co-development.”
The Prime Minister also flagged security in the cyber space, especially involving critical infrastructure, as an area of shared interest.
On her part, Prime Minister May said that Britain and India faced the shared threat of terrorism and the two countries have agreed to strengthen cooperation in tackling use of internet by extremists.
“We both face the shared threat of terrorism as individual countries, as partners, and as global powers,” she said.
“We have agreed to strengthen our cooperation, in particular, by sharing best practice to tackle use of internet by violent extremists,” she said.
“Prime Minister Modi and I have agreed to step up our cooperation by negotiating a cyber framework between our countries.”
Stating that India is a leading power of the world, May reiterated that Britain would like to see India take a permanent seat in the UN Security Council.
She called for breaking down barriers in trade and investment while voicing support for free trade between India and Britain.
In this connection, she said that India has been made the first visa-holding country to avail of Britain’s registered travel scheme.
As for student visas, she said that Britain would continue to welcome the “best and brightest” of Indian students.
The MoU on IPR envisages establishing a mechanism for furthering cooperation between the intellectual property offices of India and Britain in the field of intellectual property and related information technology services.
It will include exchange of best practices, experience and knowledge of intellectual peoperty awareness among the public, businesses, industry, research and development organisations and educational institutions, as well as on processes for disposal of applications for patents, trademarks, industrial designs and geographical indications.
The MoU on ease of doing business intends to make expertise from different departments of the British government which have led the ease of doing business drive in the Britain available to the relevant departments and agencies of the Indian government, according to the ministry.
It includes exchange between the officials, sharing of best practices and technical assistance for effective implementation of the initiatives of GOI to improve its ranking in the ease of doing business.
Important areas of cooperation include support to businesses and start-ups, tax administration, regulatory regimes, and competition economics.
Footsteps of Gandhi
Mrs May visited Gandhi Smriti to pay her respects to Mahatma Gandhi, Father of the nation. The memorial, situated in Old Birla House, where Gandhi spent the last few months of his life and was assassinated in 1948. Built in 1928, it is now a museum celebrating his life and legacy.
The British Prime Minister was presented with an Angavastram, a woven cloth scarf made from fabric produced at Gandhi Smriti, and escorted around the museum to see photos recording Gandhi’s life, the room where Gandhi slept and worked, and the few worldly belongings he left behind, including his glasses.
She saw a demonstration of how to use a spinning wheel known as a charkha to make yarn. The charkha is an iconic symbol of Gandhi’s teachings of self-sufficiency and freedom.
She saw the footprints marking Gandhi’s final walk on 30 January 1948, and a mural depicting significant events in his life. The culmination of her visit was the scattering of petals at the point where Gandhi was shot.
In March 2015, the UK honoured Gandhi with a statue, alongside other great leaders, in Parliament Square. It is a lasting and fitting tribute to his memory in Britain and a permanent monument to our friendship with India. This is May’s first bilateral visit outside of Europe since she assumed the Prime Minister’s office in July this year.
She took over the prime ministership after David Cameron resigned following the historic referendum in June in which Britain voted to exit from the European Union. Cameron rooted for Britain to stay in the EU.
May’s visit comes a little less than a year after Modi’s visit to Britain in November last year.
May, who arrived in Delhi late on Sunday night on a three-day official visit to India, will also visit Bengaluru on Tuesday.