Seeking to restore momentum to their bilateral ties, India and UK on Thursday discussed a wide range of issues, including defence and counter-terrorism while agreeing to hold bi-annual talks to tackle threats from cyber crime.
External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid and his British
counterpart William Hague, who held comprehensive delegation- level talks here, also deliberated upon the security situation in the region, including Afghanistan and Pakistan.
The two sides reviewed progress made to strengthen civil nuclear energy cooperation, both commercially and through their institutions.
The volatile situation in Syria also came up during the talks with both sides expressing readiness to support the efforts for peaceful resolution to the crisis there.
The two sides also decided to enhance cooperation in the area of cyber security, structured dialogue which was held for the first time last month, and agreed to conduct their Cyber Dialogue on a bi-annual basis.
At a joint press conference here, the two leaders spoke about the situation in the region while underlining the importance of closer contacts between the two countries.
On UK moves to slash aid of 280 million pounds per annum to India by half, Khurshid made it clear that New Delhi is not unduly worried about it.
"Aid is past, trade is future" and the countries are looking at the future," he said.
Khurshid also said, "If we did not discuss it (aid issue), it did not merit a discussion."
British Foreign Secretary WilliamHague today expressed the confidence that bilateral trade with India would double in the next three years on stronger economic and business ties .
"Since 2010, our partnership has truly become stronger, wider and deeper. We are on course to hit our target of doubling trade by 2015," he said addressing a joint press conference with his Indian counterpart Salman Khurshid here.
The bilateral trade in 2010 was worth 10 billion pounds. The two countries had set a bilateral trade target 20 billion pounds by 2015.
Calling for stronger business ties between the two nations, Hague said British companies have been investing in India in key areas like energy, telecommunications and education.
"The largest single foreign investments into India are British, by Vodafone and BP (British Petroleum). This is a two-way process," he said.
"Indian companies have chosen to invest more in the UK than in the rest of the EU combined and with great success, as Tata's investments in companies such as Jaguar Land Rover have shown," he added.
"Our government-led joint research funding has now passed 100 million pounds compared to one million pounds three years ago," he said.
External Affairs Minister Khurshid said the two sides had discussed all aspects of bilateral trade, which "has immense potential" and noted that India is third largest investor in Britain, while the UK also has major investments in India.
Khurshid also said "aid is past, trade is future" with India dismissing UK move slash its aid of 280 million pounds per annum by half to it.
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