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India-UK to cooperate in various sectors

India and Britain Thursday decided to launch a new phase of the India-UK Education and Research Initiative, as they discussed prospects of further cooperation in the field of education.



New Delhi: India and Britain Thursday decided to launch a new phase of the India-UK Education and Research Initiative, as they discussed prospects of further cooperation in the field of education.

According to a joint statement issued at the end of the visit of British Prime Minister David Cameron, the first phase of this jointly-funded initiative had helped establish over 400 collaborative ventures between Indian and British universities and schools between 2006 and 2011.

The new phase will run for a further five years, from 2011 to 2015, and is expected to take this collaboration further.

Co-operation in education, science and research, and a new emphasis on jointly funded collaborative research programmes were the main highlights of the deliberations in the field of education.

Both sides also welcomed the initiative of a collaboration between India`s Department of Biotechnology and the Wellcome Trust, London to support the development of innovative healthcare products at affordable costs.

Culture pact

An understanding on cultural cooperation inked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his British counterpart will provide the framework for a significant expansion of the rich cultural exchanges between the two countries, an official statement said.

The expanded activity under the agreement will include the first-ever exhibition in India of the Indian-born sculptor Anish Kapoor in Delhi and Mumbai, the statement said.

The Britain-based Complicite Theatre will bring its acclaimed production of "A Disappearing Number", inspired by the life of Indian-born mathematical genius Ramanujan, to Mumbai and Hyderabad.

And the first edition of the Hay Literary Festival in India will take place in Thiruvananthapuram in November.

Counter-terrorism

India and Britain vowed to further intensify cooperation in combating terrorism.

"There was agreement that terrorism constitutes the single biggest threat to the region and open pluralistic societies like ours. We have agreed to further intensify cooperation in counter-terrorism," Singh said.

Cameron also stressed that they want to establish the strongest possible security partnership with India.

Trade

India and Britain have agreed to double their bilateral trade - currently at 8 billion pounds - by 2015, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh announced Thursday.

"We will work towards doubling our trade in the next five years," Singh said.

The importance of the economic component in bilateral relations was evident by the fact that Cameron arrived in India with the largest ever business delegation accompanying a British Prime Minister on a visit to India.

Further, both countries have decided to constitute a India-UK chief executive officer`s forum, to be co-chaired by Tata group chairman Ratan Tata and the head of Standard Chartered Bank, Peter Sands.

It was also agreed to establish an India-UK infrastructure group, which will draw on "expertise of the private sector, which would help identify barriers to investment and potential solutions". They also agreed to hold discussions on a memorandum of understanding to increase investment in the road sector.

"It is wrong to say we can`t have at one and the same time a sensible and controlled immigration and dynamic and fully open economy," the visiting prime minister told a India-UK Business Roundtable, also attended by Commerce Minister Anand Sharma.

"What we want is the brightest and best from India and elsewhere. That just means having a proper system in place."

During the visit a number of deals were also signed by private companies of the two sides in areas including defence, architecture, infrastructure, high-technology, communications and information technology and outsourcing.

"India is a country where you don`t have to be a multinational to succeed. We`ve superb UK companies operating here in partnership with Indian firms and I would encourage more UK firms to explore the opportunities here," Cable told reporters at an event.

-IANS

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