Indo-UK relations: UK PM David Cameron tries to cultivate a "special relationship"

Discussion in 'Foreign Relations' started by RPK, Nov 30, 2009.

  1. RPK

    RPK Indyakudimahan Senior Member

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    Veil off Indo-UK defence courtship


    New Delhi, Nov. 29: India is considering a pact assuring the UK that bases of the Indian air force, army and navy will refuel British military aircraft and warships and facilitate the changeover of its troops and war material.

    Minister of state for defence M.M. Pallam Raju told a visiting UK delegation last week that “an MoU on Host Nation Support (HNS) was under examination of an inter-ministerial committee”.

    This is the first time such a committee or proposal has been disclosed. India does not have such a pact with any country. Its agreement with Russia is the strongest military relationship that is officially endorsed.

    But India assists friendly foreign countries in refuelling aircraft and ships on a case-by-case basis.

    The proposed agreement with the UK that the government is now studying is broadly in consonance with the “Host Nation Support” schemes that the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (Nato) enters into with partner countries.

    The US, for example, has an HNS agreement with Pakistan for aiding its war in Afghanistan. In 2004, President George W. Bush described Pakistan as a “major non-Nato ally”, adding it to a list that included countries such as Israel, Japan, South Korea and Australia.

    Nato defines HNS as civil and military assistance from a nation to foreign forces in its territory in peacetime, crises, emergencies or war.

    Delhi is considering the HNS pact with the UK even as the cabinet committee on security is wary of signing a comparable logistics support agreement with the US though it has been vetted by the three armed forces headquarters.

    The logistics pact with the US was opposed by the Left but even after the second UPA government of Manmohan Singh took over, there has scarcely been any forward movement on it. Defence sources say the pact will allow the Indian and US militaries to settle the costs of military exercises on a barter basis.

    Despite the Left being vastly reduced in numbers now, the defence establishment under A.K. Antony is wary of pushing the pact through because it will prompt allegations of a pro-US tilt.

    While the UK does not match up to the US as the only superpower in a unipolar world, an HNS agreement between London and New Delhi is bound to invite comparisons and the insinuation that India is at “Her Majesty’s Service”.

    “HNS does not mean that the troops-sending nation (in this case the UK) will have access to all our facilities. It means that they will request as and when the situation arises and we will grant help as and when and where we can. Besides, it has to be mutual,” a defence ministry official said.

    The definition of “mutual” will necessarily be about agreed airports and ports and the timing for the support in India. Developed countries — most primary Nato members or Nato itself — enter into HNS agreements to cut down the costs of out-of-area military operations.

    It is as yet difficult to conceive (since the end of World War II) of India engaged in military operations near the UK for which an HNS agreement can be used by New Delhi to its advantage. But the British have forces near the Indian subcontinent — in Afghanistan — and are keen to cut costs.

    The defence delegation from the UK that met Pallam Raju on Friday and was told that the inter-ministerial committee was considering a memorandum of understanding on HNS was led by the minister for defence equipment and support, Quentin Davies.

    Pallam Raju also told the delegation that India was ready to sign a “general security arrangement” with the UK.
     
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  3. nandu

    nandu Senior Member Senior Member

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    Cameron wants 'new special relationship' with India

    Cameron wants 'new special relationship' with India

    London, May 7,David Cameron, the man most likely to take over as the next Prime Minister of Britain, has promised to forge a "new special relationship" with India and support India's bid for a seat in the UN Security council.

    Cameron, who made his first overseas visit as leader of the Conservative party to India in 2006, has been in close touch with the Indian community, extolling the 'Hindu way of life'.

    He has often addressed large gatherings of Indian spiritual leader Morari Bapu in Britain.
    At 43, he will join the ranks of Tony Blair who was also 43 when he became the Prime Minister in 1997. Blair was the youngest person to hold the apex office since Lord Liverpool in 1812, at the age of 42.

    His party's manifesto says that the party will "work to establish a new special relationship with India, the world's largest democracy".

    It also commits the party to "work towards greater stability in Afghanistan and Pakistan" and support India's bid for a seat in the UN Security Council.

    Speaking at a recent 'Ram Katha' event addressed by Morari Bapu in Wembley, Cameron said the Hindus' commitment to hard work, family values and patriotism found resonance in the "British way of life".

    He addressed a similar Morari Bapu event in Leicester some time ago. Wembley has a large Hindu population, and in 2008 Britain's state-funded Hindu school was established in the London borough.

    Britain's Hindus constitute the third largest religious group after Christianity and Islam.
    Heaping praise on British Hindus, he said members of the community, "don't just contribute to our society. You shine a light on how we must live".

    Cameron said: "Hindus are the most family-orientated community in Britain. You are more likely to stay married, keep your families together and especially look after your elderly".
    "While maintaining their religious and cultural traditions, British Hindus have consistently shown, through their service, their patriotism, their contribution to our society, that they are truly British too".

    Picking on research conducted by the respected Runnymede Trust titled "Connecting British Hindus", Cameron supported the growing demand that Hindus in Britain should be called "British Hindus" or "British Indians" and not "British Asians".

    The Tory leader also stressed the importance of role models within the community.
    Although there have been moves to remove barriers of race and ethnicity, more needed to be done to encourage minorities to take up careers in politics, law and the armed forces, Cameron said.

    "I want to see more people from your and other minority communities playing their rightful role in helping to run our country to make it a better place for us all to live in.
    "The Hindu community is a shining example of the can-do, will-do attitude we need in our country," he said.

    http://www.deccanherald.com/content/68132/cameron-wants-special-relationship-india.html
     
  4. Armand2REP

    Armand2REP CHINI EXPERT Veteran Member

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    It will be interesting to see what a Tory-LibDem coalition is going to do if it happens. The ball is in Nick Clegg's court now, he is touted as the king maker. With Conservative penny pinching and Lib-Dem disarmament rolled into one, all the big ticket defence items will be on the chopping block except for Trident. They may just have an aircraft carrier for sale. I know of a few high ranking French officers who advocate buying the Queen Elizabeth hull and equipping it in France as the PA2. If we get in negotiations early enough we can save it before she is closed up to install nuclear reactors. There may just be a second carrier in it for India with Prince of Wales. One thing is near for certain and that is the scrapping of the Eurofighter orders. UK would probably want to divert the rest of their buy to MRCA production as they have done with SKA. Cutting their F-35 orders will leave the US hurting for exports, India is their next target.
     
  5. Iamanidiot

    Iamanidiot Elite Member Elite Member

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    If David Cameron wins the vote then special relationship with india
     
  6. Armand2REP

    Armand2REP CHINI EXPERT Veteran Member

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    Gordon Brown backs the same thing so it is little difference.
     
  7. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    UK Revives a Relationship




    UK revives a relationship

    Premen Addy

    Amidst a haystack of words on the parlous state of the British economy, the Queen’s speech at the State Opening of Parliament contained the following needle of intent: “My Government looks forward to an enhanced partnership with India.” The Times took up the theme with a substantial report entitled “Hague heads east for new ‘special relationship’.” It told of the Foreign Secretary’s planned sojourn to India sometime this summer as “Britain’s new Government tries to turn cultural and trade ties with the emerging superpower into a ‘genuinely special relationship’.”

    The Foreign Secretary’s aides later confirmed that the country was considered vital to forging a ‘distinctive British foreign policy’. Before the election Mr William Hague said that Britain needed to reach out beyond traditional allies in the US and Europe and that has remained a priority for the coalition Government. An aide to Mr Hague suggested that “relations with India had lagged behind China by about five to 10 years.” The aide said: “The truth is that this is a key relationship that has been neglected and we aim to address that.” A Foreign and Commonwealth Office briefing note read: “We need to better recognise India’s rising global influence and work closely with the Indian Government to address the many challenges facing South Asia.”

    No man is an island, neither is any country, as another of the Queen’s lines made clear: “My Government will work with the Afghan Government, Pakistan and international partners for lasting security and stability in Afghanistan.”Pakistan is now part of the AfPak equation. The wind of change is blowing upon us, but whether it turns Gale Force 9 or remains a zephyr will be revealed in the fullness of time.

    That said, there is nothing like a crisis to concentrate minds. The financial meltdown coming on top of Mr Tony Blair’s bungled crime in Iraq and the debilitating drain of blood and treasure in the deepening futility of Afghanistan clearly carries a message on course correction from the gods. Britain’s ‘special relationship’ with the US has lost its mythic attraction as a cure-all for the nation’s ills and insecurities following the loss of empire and the painful struggle to find a role in a transitional world. The Cold War was a distraction that concealed the hard realities. It enabled the UK to punch above its weight in the illusory pursuance of ‘Great Power’ status, which amounted to little more than inebriating dining rights at Uncle Sam’s high table.

    The most myopic habits of the Raj were cast in stone. Islamic Pakistan, continuing the traditions and practices of the pre-partition Muslim League, became the hand-maiden of the Anglo-American post-War imperial enterprise. Phobias on international Communism and Russia resulted in a misbegotten dalliance between the West and conservative Islam, with its twin centres of Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. The containment of India, despite the commerce in ministerial banalities on shared values, was only less central to this narrative than the containment of the Soviet Union. Jammu & Kashmir, the liberation of Bangladesh from Pakistani thraldom, coupled with the eventual convergence of Anglo-American interests in Pakistan with those of China —the compact unfolding in the aftermath of the Nixon-Kissinger visits to Beijing in 1971-73 — became a seamless robe of Whitehall policy.

    The stitching, it would appear, is now coming off. With Russian pipelines under the Baltic Sea, soon to supply German industry and the German consumer directly with Siberian oil and gas, nearing completion, the most powerful economy in the EU may start singing from a different hymn-sheet to those of its principal partners in Europe and Nato. Pakistan is in a shambles, a menace to itself, its neighbours, and to Britain and America. The hyped Chinese economy is a giant bubble in the making, according to certain reputable financial experts, while Beijing’s close relations with a rogue North Korea and a terrorism-exporting Pakistan says little for its trustworthiness as a true international partner.

    Furthermore, New Delhi has faced down Beijing’s threatening postures on the Dalai Lama’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh, to which China lays claim. The re-calibration of British foreign policy is thus timely, opening the door to a win-win situation for both Britain and India. It would end the well honed dialogue of the deaf, the practice of talking past each other, as was once the wont of British and Indian diplomats and politicians, according to Mr Douglas Hurd, Mrs Margaret Thatcher’s suave and capable Foreign Secretary.

    The new creative British conversation with India is likely to be based on all that is praiseworthy and lasting in Britain’s record in the sub-continent. Indian civilisation reached its nadir during late Mughal rule in the 18th century, but the first steps to its restoration and mutation as a modern nation state occurred under the aegis of Warren Hastings, when the Bhagavad Gita received its English rendition by Charles Wilkins, thanks to the Governor-General’s efforts to promote the work. A galaxy of British Indologists such as Jones, Carey, Colebrooke, Wilson, Prinsep, Hodgson, Tod, Cunningham and Max Muller et al over the next century returned to India her lost classical past, so seeding liberal Indian nationalism.

    Of these early discoveries of Sanskrit, Hastings wrote: “These will survive when the British dominion in India shall have long ceased to exist, and when the sources which it once yielded of wealth and power are lost to remembrance.” Lest it be forgotten, the founder of the Indian National Congress in December 1885 was the revered Allan Octavian Hume and India’s political institutions and their cultural underpinnings were seeded in the British experience. The last British Viceroy, Lord Louis Mountbatten, was invited by Indian leaders to become free India’s first Governor-General, a gesture never quite appreciated by Britain’s great and good down the years.

    At a time when the Indo-British reset button is being pressed, let us recall that Winston Churchill, who had once dismissed his Indian adversaries as “men of straw,” came to respect and laud the one among them he knew best in his last years as Britain’s Prime Minister. Writing to Jawaharlal Nehru on February 21, 1955, Churchill said: “I hope you will think of the phrase ‘The Light of Asia’. It seems to me that you may be able to do what no other human being could in giving India the lead, at least in the realm of thought, throughout Asia, with the freedom and dignity of the individual as the ideal rather than Communist Party drill book.”
     
  8. samarsingh

    samarsingh Regular Member

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    We should have no HNS agreement with UK
     
  9. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    David Cameron and team to carpet bomb India

    S Kalyana Ramanathan / London July 14, 2010, 0:45 IST
    UK’s new coalition Prime Minister and Tory party leader David Cameron is all set to ‘carpet bomb’ India in the last week of this month. In his first foreign state visit since he took office two months earlier, Cameron is expected to land in India with half his cabinet colleagues on July 26, two days ahead of his formal diplomatic mission, Business Standard has learnt.

    Though the British Foreign Office or India’s Ministry of External Affairs are yet to officially announce his itinerary, sources in the UK government said Cameron himself would first land in Bangalore, while his cabinet colleagues will fly into other state capitals, including Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata and, possibly, Chandigarh as well. This unique format has never been tried before, said foreign relations’ experts here.Some key members of the government who will be visiting India with Cameron include Chancellor of the Exchequer (finance minister) George Osborne, business secretary Vince Cable, foreign secretary William Hague and possibly the Governor of the Bank of England, Mervyn King.
    As part of Britain’s financial austerity drive, the entire delegation is expected to fly economy class on regular commercial flights into India. The high-powered team is expected to start the India sojourn on July 26, reassembling in New Delhi on July 27 to brief Cameron on their individual visits to various state capitals, at a mini-Cabinet meet. Cameron’s scheduled official meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is on July 28, according to sources here.

    Labour neglect
    Part of the hype is meant to undo what Tory party MPs believe was the ‘neglect of India’ by the Gordon Brown government. Part of it could also be due to persisting differences on Afghanistan and due to Britain’s decision to reduce aid spending as part of its budget spending cuts.


    Cameron’s visit, though yet to be played up by the media here, has elevated the expectation of members of the government, both in the UK and in India. Soon after forming a government in May, Cameron and foreign secretary Hague had announced plans to forge a “new and strategic relationship” with India.

    There is a general belief in the government and in a section of the Tory party that the earlier Labour government had not done sufficient work on improving bilateral relations with India during its 13-year reign that ended in May this year.

    A group selected from the Cabinet Office, the Prime Minister’s Office, Foreign Office and office of the Chancellor of the Exchequer was formed weeks ahead of Cameron’s visit. It has been preparing the ground for the 43-year-old head of the British government’s first state visit since he took office.

    Likely to be discussed at length during Cameron’s visit are the business and economic relationship, the G-20 future agenda and the future of Britain’s and India’s role in Afghanistan.

    Ahead of the two heads of government meeting in Delhi, George Osborne and Mervyn King are expected to meet leaders of Indian business and Reserve Bank governor Duvvuri Subbarao in Mumbai.

    A battalion of business leaders are expected to accompany Cameron. Businesses from the retail and financial services sectors are expected to be represented in large numbers within this group. Informally, Cameron has also asked Tory MP Jo Johnson to be his advisor on his India strategy. Johnson was first elected to the House of Commons this year. He was the South Asia bureau chief for Financial Times and based in New Delhi between 2005 and 2008. He is also the younger brother of London’s mayor, Boris Johnson.
     
  10. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

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    UK seems to be trying to woo India all over again. A good 400 years after Thomas Roe. Only this time they wont find suckers here and they will be talking to people on equal terms.
     
  11. Oracle

    Oracle New Member

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    UK says one thing and does the other. They are cutting down Indian Professionals from going into the UK, and India is David Cameron's first visit as a PM. What BS.
     
  12. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Good show.

    That's how the cookies should fall.

    They should come and not the other way around!
     
  13. SHASH2K2

    SHASH2K2 New Member

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    UK desperately need India on its side. Their economy is in shambles, geopolitical influence is waning . their arch rivals France and Germans have lot better tie with India. India is everything they need now. A rising economical and military power that can provide them a big market to help overcome slowdown . Also they need Indian assistance to achieve their goals in ASIA.They have realized that they cannot piggy-ride USA for influence in Asia.
     
  14. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

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    I would not say France and Germany have better ties than UK with India. UK for all practical purpose, despite their initial double game has always had good relations with India. Remember all military hardware came from there during the 50s and 60s before the Soviets came in. Even then India bought Jags from there. UK continued to be one of the biggest donor and investor in India at one time.
    Only now, UK and India will be talking as equal and not as a big nation talking to a smaller nation so to speak.
     
    Oracle likes this.
  15. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    UK hopes nuclear, education deals will be inked during PM's India trip


    London: Britain and India are expected to reach agreements on some "very big projects", including nuclear power and higher education, during the visit of prime minister David Cameron to New Delhi this month end."The prime minister is taking (to India) some of the key ministers in the government. This is the first really big concentrated visit of this coalition government abroad," UK's secretary of state for business, Vince Cable, told reporters.

    There are some "very big projects" that Britain is hoping to bring to conclusions, he said, without mentioning exact dates for Cameron's India visit.

    "Among them is the nuclear power projects which we have been discussing with them (India). One of the big areas where India has a large demand and we have potential suppliers is education; higher education. British Universities are
    potentially very big collaborators in the field as well," Cable said.

    Answering a question on the apprehension of Indian companies about visa restrictions, he indicated that the new coalition Government would try to accommodate the requirement of Indian companies.

    "We are very conscious of the visa issue. Indian companies and the Indian government representatives have made it clear that they do need to bring people in. That is absolutely clear. We do fully understand that. Inter-company transfers is part of international business; we are open to business and that includes top level managers and other staff. There is no problem on that count."

    Referring to the politics involved in it, the business secretary said "the new government is expected to demonstrate that immigration was under control; so set an overall target for people coming from overseas on work permits."

    "But we do not want to discourage people coming into the country who have badly needed skills and the policy will be to make sure that it does not happen."

    To a question on slight decline in the bilateral trade last year, Cable said "that is a temporary hick-up."

    "If you had asked me ten years ago about Indian investment in the UK - whether it was significant - people would have thought you are slightly odd and it was inconceivable. The fact is that we know now we have major Indian investors coming here, which is a major breakthrough. One year's variation is not one thing or the other. High-profile companies like Tatas own substantial chunk of the British car and steel industry."

    "We have so many pharmaceutical companies like Ranbaxy and top level IT coming from India, besides Bollywood companies producing films. For me it is a big historical shift from India being a country of receiver of investment, not open to business. Now it is much more open and has become exporter of capital and foreign investment. It is a major transformation and very welcome here," he said.

    Cable said the visit of prime minister Cameron to India is "a major one" and "not one of the occasional visits you get."

    To a question on British government's decision to review company take-overs, he said: "Takeover panel which is looking
    at takeovers is an independent body.

    "We are looking critically at the takeover rules. In the past it was very permissive and led to a lot of takeovers at reduced value, not increased value. This has nothing to do with foreign investment. Whether the company they are taking over is British or foreign is not the issue. If the rule changes, it will affect all companies."

    Earlier, Cameron said his government has put the UK's ability to attract and retain inward investment at the heart of its economic recovery plans.

    Addressing the UK Trade and Investment Business Summit of over 100 of the UK's leading investors, including Hutchison
    Whampoa, Motorola, Tata Group, Toyota, Siemens, Emirates,
    Fujitsu and Pfizer, Cameron said "attracting and retaining
    inward investment is hugely important for our economic
    recovery.

    "We want Britain to be a place where companies can grow and succeed, where the world's biggest companies thrive, where
    great ideas and innovations are turned into great products and
    where we have a world-class workforce."

    "We are determined to deliver the pro-business environment investors need; getting the deficit down to create certainty and stability, cutting business taxes, delivering flexible employment and cutting red tape and regulation," he said.

    The prime minister said: "Whether your company is established here, expanding here or relocating here, Britain is back open for business and it's going to be better than before - and better than the competition."

    The UK Trade and Investment today released Britain's national investment figures which showed that a record numbers of countries invested in the UK in 2009-10. Inward investment
    generated 94,000 jobs over the past year, a 20% rise on the previous year.

    India is the UK's fourth largest investor, with inward investment generating 5,889 jobs over the past year.

    Addressing the gathering, business secretary Cable said: "Inward investment is crucial to the success of the UK's economy. It creates thousands of jobs for the country and is key to the economic growth of our regions."

    "I know how attractive the UK is for doing business. That's why I'm so pleased that today I can meet with such vital international companies to encourage them to keep bringing business to Britain."
     
  16. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    Rulda Singh’s murder: Four held in UK



    Wednesday, 14 July 2010
    PATIALA: The West Midlands Police in England has arrested four persons involved in the murder of Rashtriya Sikh Sangat chief Rulda Singh.

    The accused were identified as Gursharan Bir Singh, Piara Singh Gill, Amritbir Singh and Paramjit Singh.

    Gursharan Bir Singh, Piara Singh Gill, Amritbir Singh are British nationals and Paramjit Singh from Chamkaur Sahib, who migrated to UK a few years ago.

    According to senior police officials, the four suspected persons had been arrested on the basis of a dossier given by the Punjab Police to the British Police sometime ago and their coordinated investigations.

    Sixty-year-old Rulda Singh was shot at his shop-cum-flat at the Grain Market, Patiala in Punjab on July 28, 2009, by two assailants, who later fled in a car. While one bullet passed through his neck, another pumped into his chest. He was admitted to the PGI, Chandigarh, but succumbed to his injuries on August 15, 2009.

    Patiala SSP Ranbir Singh Khatra, who is heading investigations into the matter, said, a team of the West Midlands Police visited Punjab and held discussions with the Intelligence Bureau, the top brass of the Punjab Police and Patiala cops.

    During investigations that continued for the past several months, the leads pointed towards the involvement of some Sikh extremist groups in the UK in the murder case.

    Khatra said the role of the four suspected persons in the murder case was being investigated, adding that, “two of them are believed to be British nationals.”

    He said a joint probe with the Britian Police points that Paramjit Pamma, Pyara Singh Gill, Amritbir and Gursharan Bir are involved in the case.

    Police officials told that investigations strongly indicate that Paramjit Pamma masterminded the plot and Gursharan Bir and Pyara Singh are the main suspects who fired gunshots.

    On September 24, 2009, the Patiala Police had arrested two persons, Darshan Singh and Jagmohan Singh, in connection with the murder case. At that time, cops had stated that the Babbar Khalsa International was behind the murder and the main objective to eliminate Rulda was its ideology.

    Meanwhile, though the Punjab Police is waiting to get information about the four arrested persons, investigations by the British Police into the murder case were being conducted by officials from the West Midlands Polices’ CID and its Counter-Terrorism Unit.
     
  17. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    We must forge a new relationship with India

    Telegraph View: David Cameron's trip to New Delhi to help build business, strategic and cultural ties should be applauded.

    David Cameron's trip to India is no ordinary visit. He will travel to New Delhi next week with senior Cabinet ministers – including the Chancellor and the Foreign Secretary – and a planeload of Britain's top chief executives. This is significant: in 2006, Mr Cameron's first overseas visit as Tory leader was to India. He said it was time to forge a "new special relationship", a pledge that was repeated in the Coalition's "Programme for Government". The Queen's Speech also spoke of an "enhanced partnership" to be shared by Britain and India.
    It would be wrong, though, to assume that no one else has woken up to India's tremendous potential. Barack Obama and Nicolas Sarkozy will visit the subcontinent this year to foster their own new relationships. And the root of this global interest? Simple enough: while the British economy contracted by 4.9 per cent in 2009, the Indian economy grew by 7.4 per cent. India, in other words, is on the way up. It may have a vast and impoverished rural population, but its urban middle class is expanding dramatically. This momentum could soon turn the nation into Asia's wealth-creating powerhouse.Already, trade between Britain and India is likely to be worth almost £30 billion by 2015. But just how "special" is the relationship between the two countries? Our colonial legacy, despite decades of hand wringing, is an advantage. Delhi's Commonwealth Games in the autumn are a reminder of this. So are India's middle classes, who define themselves as English-speaking. We are also fortunate to have a population of more than a million British Indians, many of whom travel and work in the subcontinent, encouraging economic cross-fertilisation. This, of course, is mutually beneficial: Britain is one of the top European investors in India, and more than 700 Indian companies have investments in the UK.
    Nevertheless, it is worth noting the Prime Minister's reappraisal of Britain's special relationship with the United States. That particular alliance, he wrote this week, "is not sustained by our historical ties or blind loyalty. This is a partnership of choice that serves our national interests." The same applies to India.
    Though the Government should not be ashamed of our long history with India, once the "jewel in the crown" of the British Empire, it is now time to think of the future – one in which India will play a decisive strategic role. This is true of trade as much as it is of the fight against terrorism. We cannot forget that several of India's neighbours – above all Pakistan – are far from stable.
    Britain suffered because the last government did not recognise all this. Labour did little to slow the decline in relations between India and Britain. This was bad news for trade, and bad news for Britain's standing in Asia.
    But India must share the blame, too. The country's creaking infrastructure is not helped by an overbearing bureaucracy, nor by endemic low-level corruption. Foreign operators are excluded from serious involvement in many sectors – including banking, insurance, retail and legal services. Mr Cameron would like to encourage defence sales, but at the moment Indian law is standing in the way. Our ability to forge a new special relationship requires free trade.
    This important trip should be applauded. The Prime Minister recognises that we must look beyond North America and Europe to the Bric emerging economies – Brazil, Russia, India and China – to sustain Britain's influence in a globalised world. Clearly, the Government sees India as Britain's best bet. Let's hope we get something in return.
     
  18. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    Angling for India


    [​IMG]
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    British Prime Minister David Cameron arrives in India this week at the head of a power-packed business and political team aimed at taking flourishing and modern ties between the two nations to a new high. But his hosts will look out for signs of what this means for India's interests.For Britain, clearly, a lot rides on the two-day visit.Cameron has selected India to be his first major overseas destination since becoming, at 43, the youngest British premier in nearly 200 years. He wants India and Britain to enter into a 'special relationship' — a term that used to describe Britain's ties with the US.

    But with the Obama administration busy developing ties with a number of European and Asian countries, Britain too has signalled a Look East policy that is centred around India and China.

    Britain's new coalition government is pinning hopes of accelerated domestic economic recovery on the back of India's galloping growth, speaking of a “shared history.” But more than 60 years after independence, where memories of the Raj count for little, the two sides are taking nothing for granted.

    Both want trade to grow.

    Additionally, Britain is desperate for increased Indian investments in order to help create more jobs in Britain.

    What a special relationship means for India is less clear — Britain is already in a strategic partnership with India, but so are many other countries, Indian sources say. Senior British ministers have spoken of offers in civil nuclear energy, education, infrastructure and defence but none of that sounds very 'special' to analysts.

    "The fact is that in the last 13 years of the Labour government, there has been a major slide in Britain's economic standing, while India has risen both economically and in its importance globally," said Gareth Price, head of Asia Programme at Chatham House, a London-based world affairs thinktank.

    "There has to be something substantive coming out of this visit — time-tables, plans and targets, not just aspirations."

    There has been a demand from business leaders on both sides for the British to offer a "game changer" similar in scale to the 2008 Indo-US civil nuclear deal, but British ministers and officials have so far refused to divulge the details of what they plan to put on the table.

    "We need to find out what India wants," said Hewitt.

    Cameron will fan out across India on June 28, visiting Bangalore, Mumbai and possibly some other cities, before converging in New Delhi to meet Manmohan Singh.

    "There is already a special relationship because of a shared history," said Mohan Kaul, head of the London-based Commonwealth Business Council. "If Britain does not build on it, it will lose the advantage to other powerful countries — David Cameron certainly feels that way."

    The visit comes amid a sudden fall in investments and a slowdown in trade — a decline that Indian and British ministers put down to the global downturn and will try to reverse quickly.

    "Britain is late on India but not too late," said G.P. Hinduja, Co-Chairman of the multi-billion dollar Hinduja Group. "The way forward is to combine British high-tech solutions with India's pool of talent and skills."

    Immigration is another area of concern: the coalition government is keen to bring down overall numbers of non-European skilled migrants but has heard strong complaints from business leaders from India, the US and southeast Asian countries with investments in Britain.

    The immigration crack-down also threatens to hit Britain's cash-starved education sector, heavily reliant on income from foreign students. But on Thursday the government lifted a temporary ban on student visa applications in three centres — Jalandhar, Chandigarh and New Delhi — imposed last year after a sudden surge.

    Although Cameron wants to showcase India as an example of commercial diplomacy, some analysts think there should be an equally strong focus on their strategic partnership — citing the future of Afghanistan in particular.

    "David Cameron needs to work towards assuring India that our approach to Afghanistan and Pakistan will have India's interest at heart," said Vikas Pota, head of Saffron Chase, a leading India-focussed government and business PR agency. "If there's a game-changer, then this is it."
     
  19. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    UK to press India to back Iran deterrence


    David Cameron, the British prime minister, will press India to support the international community’s efforts to deter Iran from building nuclear weapons during his visit to New Delhi this week.

    Mr Cameron’s new government wants India to be more vocal about Iran’s continued enrichment of uranium, in breach of United Nations resolutions, according to a UK official in New Delhi.

    Britain believes that India is ideally placed to deliver a message, including to Iran’s own people, that concern about their regime’s nuclear ambitions is global and not merely the preserve of the west.

    “We hope Indian interlocutors can unpick the Iranian system and explain what the concerns are,” the official said.

    Mr Cameron is being accompanied by William Hague, the foreign secretary, and six other UK cabinet ministers on what will be his first visit to Asia – aside from a trip to Afghanistan – since taking office in May.

    But S.M. Krishna, India’s foreign minister, travelled to Tehran this month to discuss energy partnerships with Iran. New Delhi is considering joining a controversial pipeline project that would supply Iranian gas to India and Pakistan.

    Mr Krishna held talks with Mahmoud Ahmadi-Nejad, Iran’s president, about bilateral co-operation and regional stability. Trade between Iran and India stands at $14bn (€11bn, £9bn) a year. But the foreign minister made no remarks about Iran’s nuclear programme, which Tehran insists is for civilian use.

    “What good are energy projects and pipelines if Iran is in flames?” asked the British official.

    UK officials say India should be concerned not just about the immediate consequences of Iran becoming a nuclear power. Of equal worry, they say, is the possible response of a country like Saudi Arabia, which would view a nuclear-armed Iran as an existential threat and may seek atomic weapons of its own, with the help of Pakistan and other countries.

    Nicholas Burns, a former US undersecretary of state who is leading an American dialogue with India, said this week that New Delhi’s stance on Iran would be a test of its suitability for a bigger role at the UN. India wants a permanent seat on the Security Council. “We need India’s shoulder behind this wheel,” said Mr Burns. “The world, including China and Russia, will be tested. We can’t stop Iran just with nice words.”

    But India’s foreign ministry doubts how effective it can be.

    One senior Indian official said that Manmohan Singh, the prime minister, had informally offered to mediate between Tehran and the US before his state visit to Washington last year. But Iran had not shown any interest.
     
  20. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    Mind your tongue (or is it language?)

    Posted on July 26, 2010 | Author: Sudeshna Sen | View 13
    It's one of my favourite provocative statements, usually when some hapless Brit is trying to make polite conversation at networking events. “So,” they’ll say, “What’s the biggest obstacle for people like us to do business successfully in India?” They assume I’m going to parrot the usual pet peeves, corruption, liberalisation, yadda yadda.

    First, I tell them it’s the often infantile dependence that many private sector businesses in UK have on government. If they carry that sense of entitlement with them to India, they’re goners.

    That usually makes people sidle away like I’ve taken leave of my senses, leaving me free to try and snag the invariably scarce canapés. If they don’t, I then tell ’em it’s cultural, not of the curry variety, but like assuming that English is a common language.

    That is definitely a clincher. I can by then, usually, grab a canapé or two and commune with the pot plants in peace. Okay, so I don’t like networking events. One needs four hands, seven-inch heels because you’re bound to end up jammed between the tallest people in the room, and I still find making small talk tiresome. I’m not just being deliberately anti-social, though. Both statements happen to be true.

    Brit private sector expects that the government is going to do their sales, marketing, market entry, relocation service, PR service and, naturally, provide large grants for them to do what one would assume is their own job of developing new markets.
    As one senior British government bigwig said, “Everyone’s got this great business idea that will transform the world, but first they just need £50 million from the government.”

    Now, just because the UK government frequently behaves like a Santa Claus-cum-Nanny McPhee, Indian government or local authorities won’t. Expecting them to do so is pointless, it’s not their job to do the work of entrepreneurs, or pay for them. Oh well.

    And next, the English as she is spoke, and writ. People think I’m nuts when I claim that it’s actually an inhibitor for cross-border relations. My argument is like this. Unlike when they’re trying to do business with say, China, when everyone makes an effort with interpreters, English speakers — like Brits and Indians — assume they understand each other perfectly.

    Neither side takes the trouble, or do enough homework, to find out whether what they say is actually being understood the way they mean it. The fact is, the same language can often mean completely different things to different cultures. Take legalese, for instance.

    While most Indian laws sound terribly familiar to Brits, their actual interpretation and usage is often wildly different, and vice versa; something people don’t bother to double check until the damage is done. Or consider business jargon.

    When Indians say ‘we’re cutting costs’, they could mean anything from scrapping the free biscuits at staff meetings to finding cheaper sources of raw materials. When Europeans or Americans say it, they mean ‘we’re sacking people’. Or there’s that other howlarious example. An Indian manager told his UK counterpart he had ‘fired’ an employee, obviously meaning he’d bawled out the miscreant junior — the Brit thought he’d sacked the employee.

    The latest such incident has ended up creating a storm in what shouldn’t even be a teacup, ticked off people on both the UK and Indian sides, at a time when neither wants or needs unnecessary controversy. These days, if you want to send important officials in Whitehall or the Indo-UK circuit run screaming from the room, just mention the phrase ‘carpet bomb’.

    Apparently, one of the innumerable government agencies involved in Indo-UK trade promotion — I’ve lost count how many there are by now — reproduced a snippet from an Indian publication (not ET) for its members.

    Which happened to use the phrase in the context that half the British cabinet and various other dignitaries are descending on India this week in, shall we say, a diplomatic blitz? Now, we’re told, this upset the sensitivities of some politically-correct locals, who felt it’s a military term.

    So, the organisation, instead of leaving well enough alone, shot off a mailer saying that the article was inappropriate and so on. This, in turn, ended up outraging various Indians, who took offence at the unnecessarily judgmental tone of the clarification, for what they think is a completely innocuous bit of fluff.

    Since sensibilities on both sides have been venting at me last week, I looked it up. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines the phrase as firstly military, but also ‘to bombard repeatedly, widely, or excessively, as in carpet-bomb the country with advertising’. Besides, these days, it’s almost a cliché in India.

    Sigh. It ain’t easy living on a border. Sometimes, if I happen to use a currently fashionable British phrase — there’s a new one every season — I’ll get mails from Indian readers who find them offensive. I wish someone would come up with a modern English — Indian English-American English dictionary.
     
  21. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    British PM off to India seeking new special ties


    LONDON: Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron goes to India this week targeting a new special relationship with the former jewel in its colonial crown, now one of the world's fastest-growing economies.

    Cameron, accompanied by his most senior ministers and bosses from some of Britain's biggest companies, hopes to agree a string of lucrative trade and partnering deals during the visit.

    Since taking power in May, Cameron has said he wants British foreign policy to focus more on business in a bid to boost the economy as it emerges from recession facing deep budget cuts to combat record state debt.

    “I want to refashion British foreign policy, the Foreign Office, to make us much more focused on the commercial aspects... making sure we are demonstrating Britain is open for business,” Cameron said last week.

    His coalition government has singled out India as a key partner, saying it wants the two countries to forge a “new special relationship” and backing India for a permanent seat at the UN Security Council.

    Cameron's finance minister George Osborne, who is joining the trip, wrote in the Sunday Telegraph that this would be the “strongest British delegation to visit India in modern times”, including bosses from mobile phone company Vodafone and defence giant BAE Systems.

    But some experts question what India has to gain from building closer ties with Britain when other, much bigger powers like the United States and Japan are also courting it.

    “The question is, what can we offer India?”, Gareth Price, head of the Asia Programme at London foreign affairs think-tank Chatham House, told AFP.

    Ties between Britain and India go back a long way.

    India was known as the “jewel in the crown” of the British empire until independence in 1947 and up to two million people of Indian origin live in Britain, its largest ethnic minority group.

    Bilateral trade between the two countries was worth 11.5 billion pounds (13.7 billion euros, 17.7 billion dollars) last year.

    Britain is the most popular business destination in the European Union for Indian companies such as Tata and ICICI Bank - and the richest man in Britain is an Indian, steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal.

    But if Cameron is to boost the bilateral relationship, Price said he would have to offer India something it wants like specific pledges on infrastructure or education - perhaps British universities opening operations in India.

    “If he just comes back with smiles and handshakes and MOUs (memoranda of understanding) there will be a collective shrugging of shoulders,” Price added.

    “There needs to be some scheme, some initiative around which you rejig the relationship”.

    Centre-right Cameron, whose government has already been criticised in India for capping immigration from non-European Union countries, was invited to visit shortly after taking power by Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

    Downing Street has not publicly given the exact dates of the trip but Cameron and Osborne have spoken of it with obvious enthusiasm.

    The new government also seems likely to take a more conciliatory tone with India than the previous administration under Gordon Brown sometimes did.

    Former foreign secretary David Miliband caused a diplomatic upset last year by linking the unresolved Kashmir dispute to the Mumbai terror attacks.

    But Miliband's successor under Cameron, William Hague, has vowed not to lecture historic rivals India and Pakistan over their relationship.

    “Our approach would not be to tell those countries what to do, they must take forward their own bilateral relations,” Hague said in May.

    India and Pakistan are locked in a struggle for influence in Afghanistan, where Britain is the second-largest provider of international troops.
     

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