Your Excellency, Prime Minister Theresa May,
Members of the media,
Excellency, I am honoured to welcome you to India. We deeply appreciate that you have chosen India for your first bilateral visit outside Europe. Last week was a period of great festivities in India. You also celebrated Diwali with much fanfare in London. Your visit today gives us reasons to celebrate the vibrant and strong India-UK partnership.
India-UK ties are truly special. It is an enduring partnership, which is nurtured by:
our shared values;
extensive people to people linkages lets not forget cricket here;
wide spread economic engagement for the prosperity of our societies;
common efforts aimed at the security of our people; and
a common vision for a peaceful and prosperous world.
Our Strategic Partnership is geared towards meeting the existing, new and emerging challenges of the twenty first (21st) century and contributing to the larger regional and global good.
In my extensive discussions with Prime Minister May today, we looked at the full range of our partnership. The spread and depth of our engagement has indeed been impressive. We also agreed to add new domains and initiatives to broaden the scope of our linkages.
Earlier this morning, Prime Minister May and I jointly inaugurated the India-UK Tech Summit. It marked a fitting celebration of 2016 as the India-UK Year of Education, Innovation and Research.
Science and Technology is a vibrant and fast growing space in our partnership. It is an area of tremendous potential and promise. It allows for the convergence of novel ideas, new research and next generation technologies. And, brings the benefits of science and technology collaboration to the lives of common people, not just in India and the UK, but in the entire world.
At the Summit, new bilateral initiatives on clean energy development and energy efficient building materials were announced. These would be critical for development of Smart Cities and to our quest for innovative solutions to tackle challenges of climate change and sustainability.
Growing business partnerships, and expanding trade and capital flows between our two economies are crucial to our economic partnership. Indian companies have been successfully raising finance from the City of London. We are encouraged by the London Stock Exchange presently hosting several Rupee denominated Masala bonds. It reflects the strong investor confidence in the fast growing Indian economy.
A meeting of the India-UK CEOs Forum, held earlier today and their valuable recommendations, would help us deepen business to business ties. The meeting of the India-UK Joint Economic and Trade Committee later this afternoon will take forward the business agenda. We have also agreed to establish a Joint Working Group on Trade. We believe that such a group should not only focus on ways to increase trade in goods, but also on the expansion of services trade, including through greater mobility of skilled professionals.
I also discussed defence and security partnership with Prime Minister May. I encourage British companies to look at the multiple opportunities in the Indian defence sector. Looking beyond trade in defence equipment, I invite them to build partnerships with Indian enterprises that focus on manufacturing, technology transfer and co-development. Security of the Cyber space, especially involving our critical infrastructure is an area of shared interest. I welcome our growing cooperation in this field. I also discussed with Prime Minister May, ways to purposefully work together to combat the growing forces of radicalization and terrorism. We agreed that it is not a limited security challenge. Its arc of threat spreads across nations and regions. Terrorists moves across borders with ease, and endanger the entire humanity. I conveyed our deep concerns to Prime Minister May regarding cross-border terrorism and the need for the international community to take strong action against States that support and sponsor terrorism.
India-UK global partnership is expanding. There is growing convergence of our views on leading global issues. I thanked Prime Minister May for UK’s consistent support for India’s membership of the UN Security Council and Nuclear Suppliers Group. We also agreed on the need for early adoption of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism.
Our multifaceted relationship is, indeed, unique. Your visit to India and the outcome of our discussions today would add new dimensions and substance that would further strengthen India-UK partnership. I also take this opportunity to convey my best wishes to the English cricket team, who will begin their campaign in Rajkot, Gujarat, day after tomorrow. May the best team win! Excellency, Let me once again extend a very warm welcome to you and your delegation to India.
Thank you very much.