Britain will introduce same-day visa service for Indian businessmen wanting to invest there, Prime Minister David Cameron announced on Monday as he sought a "special relationship" between the two countries, saying it is about the future for which sky is the limit.
Out to woo Indian
students, Cameron also said there would be no limit on the number of students from here studying in his country.
"I want Britain and India to have a special relationship....this is a relationship about the future, not the past," Cameron said in his first public engagement here--an interaction with the staff of Hindustan Unilever, the Indian unit of British consumer products' giant, Unilever.
Cameron, who landed this morning in the country's financial capital, his first port of call, during his second visit to the country in less than three years after assuming office, also announced his country would introduce a same-day visa service for businessmen, in an effort to encourage Indian businesses to invest in Britain.
"We have the biggest visa operations anywhere else in the world right here in India. I announce that we are going to introduce for businesses a same-day visa service to those who want to come to our country and invest...," Cameron told India Inc at Hotel Taj, the country's hospitality icon.
Cameron is accompanied by the largest-ever business delegation to have left the British shores, as part of efforts to bolster economic ties with India.
The British premier, whose visits comes amidst the raging storm over AgustaWestland chopper deal, described India as one of the "great phenomena" of the century whose enormous growth is going to make it the third largest economy by 2030.
Cameron will fly to Delhi tomorrow for talks with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on a range of issues. The Indian side during the talks is likely to seek more information from Britain on alleged kickbacks in the Rs. 3,600 crore VVIP chopper deal.
"I am heading the biggest-ever business delegation to leave British shores. India's rise is going to be one of the great phenomena of the century and it is incredibly impressive to see the vibrancy of your democracy, the great strength of your diversity and the enormous power of your economy that is going to be one of the top three economies by 2030," Cameron said.
"As far as I am concerned, sky is the limit.. it's about business, economy and trade. But it is also about culture, politics, diplomacy. India is going to be one of the leading nations in this century and we will be partners and that's why I am here today," he said at the HUL event.
Replying to a question during an interaction with HUL staff, he said, "We have a very clear message here in India this week. Which is there is no limit on the number of Indian students that come and study in British universities. They obviously need an English language qualification and a place. But there’s no limit on the numbers."
He said if a student got a job he could stay and work in the United Kingdom and there was no limit on the length of time for that.
The British premier wanted the trade barriers restricting newer opportunities in bilateral economic cooperation to be brought down.
"Britain is looking to take down the (trade) barriers...we want the Indian government to continue to open up trade and make it easier to do business here...We have to make sure that just as we welcome Indian investments into Britain, it is easier for British companies like banking, retail etc to invest in this vibrant and fast growing economy," he said.
"There are still many rules and regulations in the Indian economy associated with how you did things in the past, which we think if you change will make your economy grow faster, will deliver more jobs, more wealth and more prosperity across your country," he said.
The British premier also said there were great opportunities for Indian companies to invest in Britain.
"When I see Indian investment into Britian, I only see hope...investment like Jaguar and Land Rover, which is a massive international success story...We welcome that sort of investments," Cameron said, adding his country seeks to be the most investor-friendly market.
While seeking greater cooperation between the two countries across various spheres, Cameron said," I am bringing with me the premier league, top universities, museums -- we want to tie up in so many different ways with your culture, your companies, your businesses, your people."
Noting Britain had 1.5 million people of Indian origin which strengthened the ties between the two countries, he said the over 100-member delegation accompanying him comprised representatives of businesses and parliamentarians having roots in India.
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