David Cameron urges India to open up to British business


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David Cameron has urged the Indian government to cut "regulation and red tape" in a bid to encourage more trade and investment involving UK businesses.

The prime minister said India "can be a difficult country to do business in" but insisted he wanted the UK to become India's economic "partner of choice".

He wanted to see UK firms playing a bigger role in a "more open, more flexible" Indian economy, he said.

Mr Cameron is on a three-day visit to India with a British trade delegation.

The PM has also outlined a same-day visa scheme to make the process easier for India's business community.

'Success story'

During what is Mr Cameron's second trip to India as UK PM, he is due to meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and President Pranab Mukherjee.

Speaking to the BBC's Jon Sopel, Mr Cameron said he would examine with his Indian counterpart how to "take down the barriers" between the two countries.

"We'll be saying to the Indians: 'We'd like to see your economy more open, more flexible, more easy to invest in, so that British firms in insurance or banking or retail can play a bigger part in the Indian economy.'

"It's a conversation we need to have, but a conversion that has two sides."

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When David Cameron says he wants Britain and India to forge one of the great partnerships of the 21st century, he knows he has some work to do”

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The prime minister insisted that India was "one of the great success stories of this century", adding that he believed it would be a "top three [world] economy" by 2030.

"I want Britain to be its partner of choice, helping to build those motorways, helping to provide those universities, helping to invest in healthcare and also encouraging Indian investment back into the UK," he said.

But Mr Cameron sounded a cautionary note over corruption in India, while admitting the British economy was not immune to rogue trading.

He said: "I don't come here to preach to anybody, but clearly every country has to be on their guard against bribery and corruption as the Indians themselves know."

Mr Cameron arrived in Mumbai on Monday with the biggest entourage of British business people ever taken on an overseas trip by a UK prime minister.

Those represented include BAE Systems, Rolls-Royce, the London Underground and the English Premier League.

At a question-and-answer-session at Unilever headquarters in Mumbai, Mr Cameron said: "India's rise is going to be one of the great phenomena of this century and it is incredibly impressive to see.

"We've only just started on the sort of partnership that we could build. As far as I'm concerned, the sky is the limit."

Mr Cameron promised up to £1m to help fund a feasibility study into using British expertise to develop a "business corridor" between Mumbai and Bangalore.

'Valuable deals'

"It would unleash India's potential along the 1,000 kilometres from Mumbai to Bangalore, transforming lives and putting British businesses in prime position to secure valuable commercial deals," he added.

Among the businessmen joining Mr Cameron on the trip is the chief executive of the English Premier League, Richard Scudamore, who told the BBC that football was the fastest growing sport in India.

He said interest in the league had been growing exponentially.

"Ten years ago it was very small, and it's grown and we've just concluded our deals for the next three years, and we've had exponential growth here both in audience and revenue terms, so it's an increasingly important market for us."

Mr Scudamore added that the Premier League runs a skills and coaching initiative in India, in conjunction with the British Council, to further Indian interest in the sport.

Another of the trip's aims is to address controversy over the recent toughening of UK visa rules.

Mr Cameron said there was no limit on the number of Indian students that could come to British universities, as long as they had an English language qualification and a place to study.

In a round of TV interviews in Mumbai, Mr Cameron said Britain welcomed Indian university students.

"We want to make sure that we are attracting... the best and the brightest," he said.

"And in terms of our visa operation here in India, it is the biggest one we have anywhere in the world. Nine out of 10 of those who apply for a visa get one."

The prime minister also spoke of making Britain's visa system simpler for Indian businesses.

"We are introducing today a same-day visa service for business people who want to come to Britain for linking up their businesses for trade and other things like that," he said.

Later on Monday, Mr Cameron visited a memorial to the 16 Indian police officers killed during the terror attacks in Mumbai in 2008.

The prime minister laid a wreath in respect and listened as an honour guard played the Last Post.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 598.

    Knock him all you like, but thats not a bad looking straight drive - foot to the pitch, eyes on the ball, swing through the line. Could teach Tendulkar a thing or two our Dave.

  • rate this

    Comment number 597.

    276.Mr Sense

    'All these people moaning about UK aid to India. India gives more in aid to other countries than it receives from the UK. There is more to aid than meets the eye'

    We're giving aid to a country that gives aid ???
    What a waste of money, I want a refund !!!!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 596.

    David G

    "The country (UK)that hasn't even apologised yet for its past behaviour"

    Give it a rest will you.?

  • rate this

    Comment number 595.

    I'm all for working with other countries.


    ...with the UK's track record it ends up 1 of 2 ways.

    1. We colonise their country.
    2. They flood our jobs market with cheap labour.

    If Cameron et al can guarantee that by "joining" with India it won't mean a sudden influx of Indians looking for work or us Brits doing the same to them then I'm all for it.

    But pigs might also fly...

  • rate this

    Comment number 594.

    ..... '' India is buying new helicopter from us.........a very successful trip of PM to India...........it make lough

    UK sold last helicopter business to USA years ago so any profits would go stateside - might secure the odd job though.

  • rate this

    Comment number 593.

    If anyone thinks we should NOT be working closely with India, get out an Atlas and see how much smaller our country and population is than theirs.
    Look at how big the USA, Russia and Germany are; penny dropped yet?

  • rate this

    Comment number 592.

    If Cameron really wanted to represent Britian he would sort that batting technique out. High leading elbow David, keeps the ball on the ground

  • Comment number 591.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 590.

    India is not the only country with corruption or the only country with Women's right problem. Why isn't there another Lady Thatcher in Britain and why Women are still paid less compared to their male counterparts? As far as backwordness, India has done wonderfully given its past in merely 60 odd years.
    The west has a two face approach to India. Why any western state say anything about China?

  • rate this

    Comment number 589.

    The wicket is missing! Typical of Cameron, still in when he should be out.

  • rate this

    Comment number 588.

    For a man educated at Eton that cover drive looks technically poor. Should have a much higher left arm, hes off balance and prone to playing across the line, which sums him up really.

  • rate this

    Comment number 587.


    and Harriet Harman at cow corner

  • rate this

    Comment number 586.

    560.tiefflieger: "Dearest Gusgog (526) - you are right, my misery will start to fade .. and will evaporate completely as soon as my luxurious Bundesbahn ICE crosses the Bavarian border. "

    Oh dear, Bavarian cuisine, the only European cuisine worse than ours. veg boiled to distruction and that awful sausage floating in a clear broth - please flush!
    Even I'm sorry for you now!

  • rate this

    Comment number 585.

    Why are we making it difficult for Indian students to come and study in the UK then?

  • rate this

    Comment number 584.

    @ 540.B Burnett

    YES, I did read your comment. What good is an education in the UK good enough, if that very education cant allow you to get a job in the country where you graduated from...very funny to me. It clearly shows that the UK universities are only interested in the money that the foreign students pay.The universities will close as the locals cant afford.

  • rate this

    Comment number 583.

    Not very surprising news, you have to go with the flow, that is a way of politics. Look at the timing of the trip and what is going on in India..possibly a cancellation of Italian helicopter deal.
    What next is we will have news in few months that '' India is buying new helicopter from us.........a very successful trip of PM to India...........it make lough

  • rate this

    Comment number 582.

    Who's fielding at Silly Point? Ed Miliband?

  • rate this

    Comment number 581.

    Everytime D.C. gives 'aid' to another country ( which doesn't really need it ) it takes it from ours.

    If you disagree why don't you tell the thousands of people waiting for operations, or left in hospital corridors instead of wards.

    Postcode lottery for cancer treatment, neglect of social care for the elderly, and the story goes on . . . .

  • rate this

    Comment number 580.

    Mr Cameron we dont want your Fighter Jets, We dont want your Casino Banks in India,Please dont send us ur Printed Cash as Loans

    It's like the Good old days when British Tory Boys in cahoots with the Indian Maharajahs enslaved the Poor.Now the Tory Boys are Directors of Corporations n Maharajahs Politicians.The only difference is they pay the poor in Britain a cut in the name of Social Security

  • rate this

    Comment number 579.

    @ 560

    I do hope you stop off in Koeln and visit the Fruh there, lovely to sit in the afternoon with a nice Koelsch in hand and look to the Dom. I would highly recommend that you also visit the paffgen its a wonderful place with the best food + Koelsch in the city. nice warm people also, not a nasty socialist in site either to spoil your enjoyment, whinging about benefit and the rest of it


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