Seoul: Britain on Thursday extended its support
to India in its campaign for becoming a permanent member of
the United Nations Security Council, a move that comes close
on the heels of a US backing.
The support came at a meeting between Prime Minister
Manmohan Singh and his British counterpart David Cameron at a
meeting here on the margins of the G-20 summit.
External Affairs ministry spokesman Vishnu Prakash,
briefing reporters on the meeting, recalled that Britain had
earlier supported India`s case for non-permanent membership of
The Prime Minister and Cameron had been meeting
regularly even before the latter`s state visit to India
The two had met in Toronto in June after his election
as Prime Minister of Britain and in 2006 when he had come to
New Delhi after his election as leader of the opposition.
The spokesman said the two countries shared a
strategic partnership from 2004 which was converted into an
enhanced partnership during Cameron`s visit in July.
UK has been India`s major trading partner with trade
at USD 11 billion and British investment in India placed at
USD 6 billion.
Britain is the fourth largest investor in India.
The India-UK CEO`s forum, co-chaired by Ratan Tata and
Peter Sands, Chairman of the Standard Chartered Bank, has been
activated and it formed the bed rock of the bilateral economic
The Prime Minister also met Prime Minister of Ethiopia
Meles Zanawi and Mexican President Felipe Calderon.
Zenawi was appreciative of the excellent support India
gave in the area of hi-tech programme as New Delhi proposed to
set up a vocational training institute in Ethiopia.
He also spoke of India`s development partnership with
Africa which is a model that can be followed elsewhere.
The two leaders spoke about the first India-Africa
summit that was held in Delhi in 2008 and the second summit
that is to be held in Africa next year.
The venue and dates are yet to be decided.
The Ethiopian Prime Minister invited Singh to visit
his country which he accepted.
Ethiopia and India has a long shared relationship and
Addis Ababa has been supportive of India`s quest for permanent
membership of the UNSC. Recently it backed India in the voting
for the non-permanent membership of the UNSC and the reforms
of the UN.
At the meeting, it was conveyed to the Ethiopian Prime
Minister that the EXIM bank of India has decided to set up its
representative office in Addis Ababa.
It was also agreed that India would consider
Ethiopia`s request to help in the construction of a railway
line between Addis Ababa and Djiboti. The two leaders discussed ways and means of furthering India-Africa Union partnership.
They also discussed what priorities G-20 should have
relating to Africa.
In his meeting with Mexican President Calderon, as
well as Cameron, Prime Minister Singh discussed issues
relating to the G-20 summit, which opened today.
Both leaders sought the Prime Minister`s views and it
was felt that the G-20 could achieve more by restoring greater
They expressed happiness about quota reforms of the
IMF but felt that there was no universally felt diagnosis
of what ails the global economy.
The Mexican President extended an invitation to Singh
to visit Mexico which was accepted.