Unleashing a charm offensive on his maiden visit to India, British Prime Minister David Cameron singled out Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan and cricket icons Kapil Dev and Sachin Tendulkar among the cultural bonds that tie India and Britain.
"India and Britain also share so much culturally whether it's watching Shah Rukh Khan, eating the same food, speaking the same language and of course, watching the same sport," Cameron said in a special lecture to over 2,000 techies and business leaders at India's IT bellwether Infosys Technologies Bangalore.
"Many of you in this room would have grown up revering Kapil Dev. I did the same with Ian Botham," he said to a beaming audience.
"And Sachin Tendulkar, the Little Master, is so talented that wherever you're from, you can't help but admire him as he hits another century," he said.
"Indeed, culture is so important to our relationship that it's going to be a significant part of what I talk to Prime Minister (Manmohan) Singh about tomorrow."
Cameron arrived in New Delhi Wednesday evening, the second leg of his two-day visit to the country. Expanding business and cultural tries between India and Britain are among key highlights of Cameron's maiden prime ministerial visit to India.
Besides business honchos, Cameron has brought to India a team of sports and cultural personalities headed by Jeremy Hunt, Britain’s secretary of state for culture, Olympics, media and sport.
The heads of the British Museum, Victoria and Albert Museum, British Library, the British Council and vice chancellors of leading British universities are also part of the delegation.
In an article entitled "A stronger, wider and deeper relationship" in an Indian daily Wednesday, Cameron set the perfect pitch for his India visit. He underlined that he has come to India with the biggest and most diverse delegation to "renew the relationship between India and Britain, to relaunch a relationship that is stronger, wider and deeper".
Lauding India's growing economy and emergence on the global stage, Cameron wrote, "In the U.S., they used to say, 'Go West, young man' to find opportunity and fortune. For today's entrepreneurs, the real promise is in the East."
"I believe that to spread opportunity for all our people, from Delhi to Dundee, Bangalore to Birmingham, we would benefit from a common strategy for economic growth," he wrote.