After Cameron, more high-profile visits from Britain

July 30th, 2010 - 7:48 pm ICT by IANS  

David Cameron By Manish Chand
New Delhi, July 30 (IANS) Following in on a fairly productive visit by Prime Minister David Cameron, Britain has lined up a string of high-profile visits that include Prince Charles, Defence Secretary Liam Fox and Immigration Secretary Damian Green in the next few months to keep its India ties on a trot.

The heir to the British throne, Prince Charles, accompanied by his wife Camilla Parker-Bowles, will represent Britain at the inaugural ceremony of the Commonwealth Games Delhi will host Oct 3-14.

Riding on the 700 million pound-deal for selling 57 Hawk AJTs (advanced jet trainers) during Cameron’s visit, British Defence Secretary Liam Fox will be here in November to carry forward an enhanced defence partnership ahead of the joint air exercise, Indra Dhanush, in India in October.

Green will be coming to India in the last week of August. With the proposed British immigration cap on non-EU skilled workers arousing anxiety in India, Green’s talk with Indian officials will kick off the process of consultations on the issue.

During a round-table discussion with Indian business honchos here Thursday, Cameron had sought to allay Indian concerns over a proposed immigration cap on non-EU citizens, saying it placed no barrier to the “brightest and best”.

On the cultural front, too, the next six months will be full of events like the first exhibition in India of the Indian-born British sculptor Anish Kapoor, in Delhi and Mumbai. A play based on the life of Indian-born mats genius A.K. Ramanujan will be shown in Mumbai and Hyderabad. The literati can look forward to the first edition of the Hay Literary Festival in Thiruvananthapuram in November.

Imparting a renewed momentum to bilateral ties, the two countries took a slew of initiatives to double bilateral trade to $24 billion by 2015 as they launched a new CEOs forum, to be co-chaired by chairman, Tata group, Ratan Tata and head of Standard Chartered Bank, Peter Sands.

Hailing the visit as the beginning of a new chapter in ties with a rising India, British diplomatic sources said Cameron’s two-day visit struck a chord in the country with his sincere desire to take relations to a new trajectory.

“His frank talk on action against terror originating in Pakistan helped. And yes, his six against Kapil Dev got us media attention. But, above all, it was his sincerity and enthusiasm that won hearts,” the sources told IANS.

“It was no theatrics. The special relationship with India is for real,” said a British diplomat.

(Manish Chand can be contacted at manish.c@ians.in)

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