British MPs want Indian consulate in Liverpool (Lead)

June 20th, 2008 - 1:18 pm ICT by IANS  

London, June 20 (IANS) A group of British MPs encouraged by Tata’s acquisition of Jaguar and Land Rover want India to establish a consulate in Liverpool and a direct sea freight route, a local newspaper said. MPs representing the north-western region of Merseyside have reportedly urged Indian High Commissioner Shiv Shankar Mukherjee to consider setting up a consulate in Liverpool to foster trade links with India.

The Liverpool Echo said Thursday another project is to open up a direct sea freight route between ports in India and Liverpool.

It said MPs from the Merseyside region and business leaders this week started negotiations with Mukherjee in London and that the Indian envoy has agreed to send a detailed proposal to the external affairs ministry in New Delhi to be forwarded to the Indian cabinet.

Peter Kilfoyle, a ruling Labour Party MP, described Mukherjee’s response as “very positive and encouraging.”

“We all want to expand the existing strong commercial links with India which, like China, is a huge expanding commercial power. We cannot afford to ignore 1.2 billion people.

“If we succeed, the trade will be worth billions, the sky’s the limit. Good investment leads to more good investment,” he added.

Merseyside, named after the river Mersey, is home to a massive production unit for Jaguar X-type and Land Rover Freelander cars at Halewood, situated to the southeast of Liverpool city.

Tata chairman Ratan Tata visited the factory in early June to meet managers, union officials and its workforce of 2,000.

India’s honorary consul in Liverpool Shiv Pande, said: “…we are exploring a new sea route between Liverpool and the sub-continent. As to a permanent consulate, it is very early days and we do not want to jump the gun. But I hope it will go in the right direction.”

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