Aid to India not linked to contracts: Britain

February 14th, 2012 - 10:34 pm ICT by IANS  

David Cameron Chennai, Feb 14 (IANS) Britain Tuesday said its aid to India was not linked to trade or for securing contracts.

“The British government’s aid to India is not linked to trade or securing any contracts. We want to double trade between India and the UK. But there is no link between the aid given and the trade,” Britain’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Jeremy Browne told reporters here after addressing an event organised by the Madras Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI).

He said the British government plans to open more offices in India’s new business centres.

Browne said the British government is interested in doubling of bilateral trade with India.

When queried about the Saturday attack on an Indian management student in London, he said: “We take these crimes very seriously. But no country can guarantee every visitor safety. UK is relatively a safe country.”

Earlier, addressing the audience, Browne recalled British Prime Minister David Cameron’s India visit in July 2010 during which he led a large delegation of ministers, business people and cultural leaders.

The aim was to show the “sincerity of our government’s pledge to make our relationship with you (India) stronger, wider and deeper,” Browne said.

He said India is the fourth largest economy in the world and it is shaping the future contours of the global economy in the G20.

He said Britain can offer its expertise in structuring India’s planned investments in infrastructure sector.

Welcoming Indian students to study in his country, he said out of 400,000 foreign students in Britain, 40,000 were from India.

He said over one million people of Indian origin are living in Britain and occupying vital positions like that of doctors and politicians.

“India is shaping the UK like never before,” he said.

Stressing that Britain’s economic fundamentals were strong despite the Eurozone crisis, Browne said: “In the Foreign Office, we are re-balancing our resources from our traditional areas of operation, such as Europe, to emerging powers - such as India, China and Brazil.”

Saying that commerce was at the heart of Britain’s foreign policy, Browne hoped that the EU Free Trade Agreement with India is concluded this year.

According to him, Britain has been forthright in its support for India to have a permanent seat in the United Nation (UN) Security Council.

On the issue of relationship with Iran, Browne charged that country of abusing human rights and promoting terrorism.

“We don’t want to see nuclear race in the region,” he said, referring to Iran’s nuclear power plans.

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