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HindustanTimes Mon,20 Oct 2014

UK minister to discuss Modi’s ‘skills agenda’ during November visit

Prasun Sonwalkar, Hindustan Times  London, June 17, 2014
First Published: 00:12 IST(17/6/2014) | Last Updated: 23:43 IST(17/6/2014)

David Willetts, minister for universities and science in the David Cameron government, will be one of the first British ministers to interact with the Narendra Modi-led government during his visit to New Delhi in November.

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An aide of the minister told a gathering of educationists at the residence of Indian high commissioner Ranjan Mathai in London on Friday that Willetts will hold talks with minister for HRD Smriti Irani and science and technology minister Jitendra Singh.

Key issues discussed during Willetts’ visit will be UK’s role in developing the ‘skills agenda’ outlined recently by the Modi government and the UK-India Education and Research Initiative, which has linked several institut-ions in India and Britain in recent years.

Before Willetts’ visit in November, at least two more ministers — chancellor George Osborne and minister for business engagement with India Gregory Barker — are expected to visit India, though dates have not been finalised.

Modi had accepted the invitation to visit Britain when Cameron called him after the election results were declared, but prime ministerial visits are not on the cards this year, diplomatic sources have confirmed.

Cameron had visited India three times after coming to power in May 2010, but since then there were no visits to Britain by former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.


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