London: Keen to forge a new "special
relationship" with fast emerging India, British Prime Minister
David Cameron will head to the country later this month with a
senior Cabinet delegation and top business leaders.
The Cabinet delegation accompanying Cameron on his
first visit to a foreign country as prime minister, will
comprise of top ministers, Foreign secretary William Hague,
Chancellor of Exchequer George Osborne and Business Secretary
Vince Cable who will help him create an "enhanced partnership"
with India, one of the world`s fastest growing economies.
Leading British businessmen will also be part of the
delegation as Britain seeks collaborations with Indian firms
with an eye on the large market.
According to a report in The Daily Telegraph,
ministers believe Britain must dramatically increase its
business collaboration with Indian companies and universities
to win a share of retail, banking and services markets which
are expected to grow by 10 per cent per year.
There are over 500 Indian companies already operating
in the UK.
Britain is also expecting India to lift restrictions
in the banking, insurance, financial and professional services
sectors and allow law and accountancy firms to practise in the
Ministers believe British universities could help meet
India`s growing demand for higher education centres.
Hague said last week that Britain would suffer if it
did not develop business and political links with rising
economies such as India, Brazil and China.
Quoting officials, the report said British firms and
universities can trade their technology and management skills
for a share in India`s future wealth by forming joint ventures
and developing new goods and services together.
A number of British and Indian technology firms and
university departments are already working together to develop
secure mobile communication systems that could survive
terrorist attacks and natural disasters.
Gopichand Hinduja, a billionaire and co-chairman of
the London-based Hinduja group, an investment firm, welcomed
the scale of the Cabinet`s planned trip to India, which he
said would be seen as a sign of respect and sincerity in New
"India and Britain have strong historical bonds and
the British understand India better than any other country in
the world," he said.
"It is in Britain`s and India`s interests to sign
protocols which can help mutual trade and investment to grow.
The scale of David Cameron`s first visit as Prime Minister
will show Britain is giving importance to India," Hinduja
Cameron`s decision to take so many senior Cabinet
colleagues with him later this month is said to be aimed at
stressing the Government`s desire for a long-term, strategic
relationship rather than a series of short-term contracts.
Cameron and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh have already
met in Toronto last month and they are expected to issue in
New Delhi a joint statement heralding the "special
Ahead of his first meeting with Singh at the G20
summit last month, Cameron had put himself in-charge of
building relations with India while giving the charge of
handling ties with China to his deputy Nick Clegg.