Britain-India share special bond: UK PM May pitches for stronger trade ties | india-news | Hindustan Times
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Britain-India share special bond: UK PM May pitches for stronger trade ties

Visiting British Prime Minister Theresa May on Monday pitched for stronger trade ties with India but offered little to address New Delhi’ concerns over the recent tightening of visa regime.

india Updated: Nov 07, 2016 11:01 IST
HT Correspondent
Post Brexit
Prime Ministers Theresa May and Narendra Modi at the India-UK Tech Summit in New Delhi on November 7, 2016. (Twitter )

Visiting British Prime Minister Theresa May on Monday pitched for stronger trade ties with India but offered little to address New Delhi’ concerns over the recent tightening of visa regime.

Addressing an India-UK tech summit in New Delhi at the start of her two-day visit, May said she wanted Britain to become a global standard bearer of free trade, saying more investment and fewer barriers to trade between Britain and India would boost prosperity.

“We want Britain to be the most committed and passionate advocate of free trade in the world,” said May, who is on her first bilateral trip outside the European Union since taking office in July.

Read | On the agenda: 5 things to expect from Britain PM Theresa May’s India visit

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi backed May, saying it was vital that the two countries worked together to define the economy of the 21st century.

“I’m confident together we can leverage our scientific strengths to create new opportunities,” Modi said, as he talked about economic challenges prevailing in the “present global climate”.

Bilateral trade between the two countries stood at $14 billion last year. India and the UK are the third largest investor in each other’s countries.

Seeking to lay the groundwork for a post-Brexit trade, May said India was full of opportunities and the two sides should build on shared partnership to grow together.

Read | May comes calling: Post-Brexit Britain will need trade with India more than ever

“There is so much potential when it comes to India-Britain relationship, we have a special bond.”

The 60-year-old May took over as the Prime Minister from David Cameron in July who resigned his position after Britons in a shock vote opted out of the European Union.

Though Britain cannot sign any bilateral trade deals until it has left the EU, May said it was vital to identify ways to deepen trade with India before her country exited the European Union.

Read | Visa cloud over trade ties as British PM Theresa May arrives in India

Modi said the two countries could collaborate and expand people centric e-governance as May sought a role for British firms in his government’s ambitious Digital India and smart city programmes.

The two leaders are to meet later in the day.

On visa front, May, who as the home secretary tightened immigration rules, said Britain would offer expedited clearance at the UK borders under a registered traveller scheme to business travellers from India.

(With agency inputs)

Also read | India is Britain’s closest friend, a leading world power: Theresa May