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British PM calls up Modi ahead of visit

india Updated: Nov 03, 2016 23:45 IST
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During May’s visit beginning on November 6, India is likely to raise its concerns over problems being faced by Indian students in the UK due to visa curbs. (PTI File Photo)

Ahead of her visit here, British Prime Minister Theresa May today called up her Indian counterpart Narendra Modi during which they agreed that there is substantial scope for further strengthening cooperation in a range of sectors, including defence and security.

During the telephonic call, the two Prime Ministers exchanged Diwali greetings, the PMO said.

“Both leaders agreed that there is substantial scope for further strengthening bilateral cooperation across a range of sectors, including Science and Technology, Finance, Trade and Investment, and Defence and Security,” it added.

Modi told May that he is looking forward to welcoming her next week, which will be her first substantive bilateral visit outside Europe.

During May’s visit beginning on November 6, India is likely to raise its concerns over problems being faced by Indian students in the UK due to visa curbs.

In their talks, the two Prime Ministers are expected to deliberate on impact of Brexit on the bilateral ties and ways to boost trade and investment, besides expanding cooperation in some other key areas.

“We expect mobility issues to be raised during the visit,” said External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup when asked whether the issue of Indian students will be taken up during the talks.

“Yes, it is true that in the last 5 years or so, the number of Indian students enrolling in UK Universities have gone down by almost 50 per cent; from around 40,000 to about 20,000 now. This has happened because of restrictions on Post-Study stay in the UK,” said Swarup.

He said Indian students and people-to-people relations are important pillars of India-UK ties and that India has raised its concerns already with UK on the difficulties being faced by Indian students there.