Putting economic engagement at the centrestage of their relations, India and U.K. Prime Ministers said on Thursday that they will sign commercial deals of 9.2 billion pounds over the next three days as Prime Minister Narendra Modi began the first bilateral visit to the country by an Indian prime minister since 2006. New Delhi promised a new “fast-track mechanism” as the two sides firmed up at least 27 deals, covering sectors ranging from banking to energy, skill development to environment. The UK said it plans to invest in three Indian smart cities and the two sides also announced the signing of a civilian nuclear agreement.
British Prime Minister David Cameron said, “During this visit, British and Indian companies are announcing new collaborations together worth more than 9 billion pounds… We want to become the number one partner to finance the immense economic vision of Prime Minister Modi and make London the centre for offshore rupee trading with the launch of 1-billion worth of bonds including the first government-backed rupee denominated bond.”
Later, addressing a business gathering, Modi said. “India is one of the most open countries for foreign investment… At this point of time, it is wiser to be in India,” he said. He also mentioned the opening of 15 sectors to FDI in this context.
Cameron said “relations between India and the UK, once imprisoned by the past, were now a modern, dynamic partnership”.