'India, UK share more equal, balanced ties'

London: India and the UK share "more equal and balanced" ties now and the credit for this goes to their political leadership, according to Indian Acting High Commissioner to Britain Rajesh Prasad.

"Today the two countries have solid special relations in the spheres of education, science and technology and culture. The credit goes to the political leadership of the two countries. The relationship has gone full circle. We have moved to a more equal and balanced relationship," he said.

Addressing a function organised to celebrate India's Independence Day at the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan here last night, Prasad said India and UK have historic linkages.

He also said that India offers a unique example of a country undergoing socio-economic transformation through democracy and pluralistic society.

"India means many things for many people. While it has made vast strides in the fields of IT, bio-technology, nuclear science and space, it is in the process of uplifting the lives of millions of people who are still below the poverty line."

The Independence Day is an occasion "when we pay tributes and honour those who had sacrificed for the nation and acknowledge the achievement the country has made since independence. India is very different from what it was 64 years ago. We do admit with humility that we are yet to wipe out tears of millions who are still below the poverty line," he said.

The acting High commissioner had a special word of praise for NRIs here. "Indians in the UK have distinguished themselves. Indians here have played a very useful role in helping build the bilateral relations," Prasad said and hoped that they would continue to endeavour to further strengthen the strategic relations.

He said the Bhavan here has played a crucial role in preserving and promoting Indian culture.

At the outset, Prasad congratulated Joginder Sangar, the new Chairman of the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, UK, and extended his warmest felicitations.

He also spoke highly of the outgoing Chairman Maneck Dalal "who has graciously agreed to continue to associate himself with the activities of the Bhavan."

The new Mayor of Hammersmith and Fulhem, Councillor Frances Stainton, said "tonight our thoughts go to Mahatma Gandhi, who went to the nearest Church here during his stay in London."

Joginder Sangar recalled the achievements of Maneck Dalal during his tenure as the Chairman of the Bhavan and said "even in his absence, we feel his presence in the Bhavan, where a gallery has been named after him for his achievements."

Students of the Bhavan regaled the packed audience with two patriotic songs, one in Hindi and the other in Tamil, and through Kathak and Bharata Natyam dances.