Indian ‘jobs mission’ reaps results

By Alex Stevenson

David Cameron and Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh have hailed the British trade delegation’s visit a success, after meeting for talks.

Agreements to initiate greater levels of cooperation over civil nuclear energy and the £700 million sale of Hawk training jets have already been achieved by the team of ministers and senior business figures courting their Indian counterparts.

Other deals announced today included a £34 million contract for Griffon Hoverwork to sell hovercraft to the Indian coastguard and three major projects worth £1.6 million for London-based architects Benoy.

Mr Cameron discussed trade and security issues with Dr Singh, before the pair praised the progress made in a joint press conference.

“We share the same vision of a renewed and enhanced partnership between our two countries,” the Indian prime minister said.

“If we join hands together we can make a meaningful contribution to addressing the challenges of global poverty and development, reform of global institutions, terrorism and climate change.”

Mr Cameron said he was determined to speak openly as he acted to advance Britain’s interests overseas.

“This is a jobs mission as much as a trade mission,” he said earlier.

“We have a strong relationship with India and it would be even stronger if we speak frankly about some of the things we’d like India to do.

“We’re one of the most open economies in the world. We’d like India to be even more open to our investment and our businesses. That would be good for them, we believe, and good for us.”

A range of science and technology initiatives have also been announced. Up to £60 million of jointly-funded research on climate change, food and water security has been committed, while Britain’s top 14 universities are to be twinned with the 14 new innovation universities India plans to create.

“Science and technology have the capacity to transform lives for the better in both India and the UK,” business secretary Vince Cable said.

“We can both benefit from sharing knowledge and together we have ambitious plans. These agreements will help to make them a reality.”