UK mulling setting up of jt task-force with India

Britain is "actively" exploring ways to set up a joint task-force with India during Prime Minister David Cameron`s State Visit to New Delhi this month-end.

Last Updated: Jul 02, 2010, 00:57 AM IST

London: Britain is "actively" exploring ways
to set up a joint task-force with India during Prime Minister
David Cameron`s State Visit to New Delhi this month-end in an
effort to forge "a partnership for the 21st century."

Announcing this here, British Foreign Secretary William
Hague said Cameron has already launched a joint task-force
with the United Arab Emirates as part of efforts to elevate
links with the Gulf region.

The task-force with the UAE "will develop options for
strengthening our ties across the board," he said.

"I can also confirm that we are actively exploring the
scope for similar initiatives with other countries, including
a visit by Prime Minister Cameron to India to identify how we
can forge a partnership for the 21st century," he said.

A top diplomat told PTI that the exact dates for
Cameron`s India visit would be finalised in a few days. "July
28 and 29 are among the dates under consideration," he said.
The Foreign Secretary, who was unveiling "Britain`s
Foreign Policy in a Networked World" at the Grand Locarno Room
of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the presence of a
large number of global press and diplomats, said "the world
has changed and if we do not change with it Britain`s role is
set to decline with all that that means for our influence in
world affairs, our national security and our economy."

He said the economic power and economic opportunity were
shifting to countries of the East and South; to emerging
powers of India, Brazil, China and Asia and to increasingly
significant economies such as Turkey and Indonesia.

"It is estimated that by 2050 emerging economies will be
up to 50 per cent larger than those of the current G-7,
including of course the United Kingdom. Yet the latest figures
show we export more to Ireland than we do to India, China and
Russia put together."

The Foreign Secretary said Britain has unrivalled human
links with some of the fastest growing countries of the world,
whether it is the millions of its own citizens who boast
Indian, Pakistani or Bangladeshi heritage, "our close links
with Africa, or the 85,000 Chinese students currently being
educated in Britain or at UK campuses in China."

Noting that the English language gives Britons the
ability to share ideas "with millions - perhaps billions - of
people in the biggest emerging economies and - if we so
choose - to build networks across the world, Hague said "it
is staggering that in India 250 million school and
university-aged students - four times the entire population of
the United Kingdom - are now learning English.

"This underlines the essential importance of the work of
the British Council and the BBC World Service, which give
Britain an unrivalled platform for the projection of the
appeal of our culture and the sharing of our values."

-PTI