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'Cripple terrorists by choking funds'

Speaking to the FM in New Delhi, British Chancellor Brown underlines the need to strike at terrorists' financial sources.

india Updated: Jan 18, 2007 16:53 IST

India and Britain on Thursday launched economic and financial dialogue to deepen business ties and agreed to intensify cooperation in counter terrorism, environment and energy security.

British Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown held talks with Finance Minister P Chidambaram and launched the 'India-UK economic and financial dialogue' - an initiative to promote two-way trade and investment taken by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his British counterpart Tony Blair last year.

"The dialogue will help build a strong partnership and will serve as a forum for exchange of issues on bilateral and global issues, financial system, climate change and energy security," Chidambaram told reporters at a joint press conference with Brown at the Hotel Taj Mahal in New Delhi.

Brown, the Labour Party's prime minister-in-waiting, underlined enhanced cooperation between India and Britain in the crucial areas of combating terrorism in all its forms by striking at financial sources of terrorists.

Outlining a robust future for India-Britain business ties, Brown said the rate at which trade and investment are growing, exports from Britain to India could double by 2010 and quadruple by 2020.

British environmental expert Nicholas Stern is working with the Indian government on a report on the economics of climate change, he said.

In the area of counter-terrorism, Brown said the central thrust of the two countries would be on striking at the funding of terrorists with global networks.

"We are committed to a package of steps to protect our transport networks against terrorist strikes, especially in the context of the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi and the 2012 London Olympics," Brown said.

India will participate in the plenary meeting of the Financial Action Task Force next month. The task force aims to intensify international cooperation against terrorism by cooperating against organised and serious crime and new forms of criminality, including illegal migration, drugs trafficking and trafficking in people.

In a speech in Bangalore, from where he began his three-day visit to India, Brown had said that India and Britain "stand full square against all terrorism and murderous extremists who practice it".

Brown will call on Prime Minister Manmohan Singh later in the day and discuss ways to give fresh impetus to strategic partnership between the two democracies.

Foreign investment from India into Britain has exceeded the foreign investment the other way round since 2004, making India the second largest foreign investor in Britain, Chidambaram stressed.

Brown, accompanied by a 150-strong business delegation including secretary of state for trade and industry Alistair Darling, will go to Mumbai on Friday to meet business leaders to deepen financial links between the two countries.

Brown also highlighted the attractiveness of Britain as a hub for Indian foreign investment and invited Indian companies to set up shop in Britain.

Nearly 400 Indian companies are listed in Britain, exceeding the total number of Indian companies listed in the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq.