Britain today said it wanted to expand ties in defence and hi-tech sectors with India and was looking forward to President Pratibha Patil's state visit this month to further boost bilateral relations.
British High Commissioner to India Richard Stagg said the two countries could enlarge the scope of cooperation in specific areas such as defence and high technology and pointed out that Britain's defence firms already had a large presence in India.
He said Patil's three-day visit to Britain beginning October 27 would go a long way in cementing the historical ties between the two countries.
"This will be third state visit by an Indian President in the last one century and the first since 1990. We are looking forward to it as this will help in expanding the bilateral relations in all aspects," Stagg said at a Luncheon Meeting organised by the PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PHDCCI) here.
Stagg said London's Lord Mayor Alderman David Brewer would come on a five-day visit to India on October 19 and lead a high-powered business delegation to Hyderabad, Mumbai and Delhi.
Asked about Britain's economic growth, the High Commissioner said in the second quarter of this financial year, his country's economy would shrink and was likely to record a negative growth in the last two quarters of this fiscal as well.
"India, however, has done very well and managed to keep its economy sound in the last 12 months," he added.