Hawk contract, cultural deal on anvil during UK PM`s India trip

A 500 million-pound deal for BAE systems is expected to be among a high-profile contracts to be signed during PM`s David Cameron`s two-day visit to India commencing on Wednesday.

Updated: Jul 25, 2010, 20:32 PM IST

London: A 500 million-pound deal for BAE
systems, Britain`s biggest defence contractor, to supply Hawk
jet trainers is expected to be among a string of high-profile
contracts to be signed during Prime Minister David Cameron`s
two-day visit to India commencing on Wednesday.

There is also likely to be a major cultural agreement
involving museums, `The Observer` reported today.

Cameron is taking with him seven Cabinet ministers and a
huge trade delegation, including representatives from BAE as
well as from Rolls-Royce, Standard Chartered Bank,
construction group Balfour Beatty and the British Museum.
BAE has set up joint ventures with the state-owned
Hindustan Aeronautics in Bangalore. The Indian group makes
BAE`s Hawk trainer aircraft under licence.

Dick Olver, BAE`s Chairman, said British business needed
to think about India becoming as important a trading partner
as America. "We need to build a second special relationship."

According to the Sunday Telegraph, BAE Systems will
announce a 500 million-pound deal to build 57 Hawk trainer
jets in collaboration with their Indian partners HAL near
Bangalore, as a centrepiece of Cameron`s visit.

Cameron, who will first fly to Bangalore, the hub of
"infotech" and innovation, will visit along with Business
Secretary Vince Cable and Climate Change Minister Greg Barker
the headquarters of Infosys, the cutting edge IT firm based in
the city.

Cameron is expected to make a keynote speech there
calling for an "aspirational partnership" between Britain and
India.

George Osborne, the Chancellor of Exchequer, will visit
Mumbai, the financial capital of India, while David Willetts,
the Universities and Science Minister, will travel to Chennai
to promote university tie-ups.

Meanwhile, Jeremy Hunt, the Culture and Sport Secretary,
will go to Delhi, which is hosting the Commonwealth Games in
October.

In Mumbai, Osborne will ring the bell to open the day`s
trading to the headquarters of top computer software
companies.

On Thursday, Cameron will be accorded a ceremonial
reception in the forecourt of the Rashtrapati Bhavan in Delhi.
Besides holding talks with his Indian counterpart Manmohan
Singh, Cameron is scheduled to meet Congress leader Rahul
Gandhi.

Discussions about the growing threat of LeT, the
Pakistan-based terrorist group behind the Mumbai attacks in
2008, will be on the agenda of meetings between British
Foreign Secretary William Hague and India`s security chiefs.

PTI