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UK expanding presence in India under Modi govt

india Updated: Sep 20, 2014 18:59 IST
Prasun Sonwalkar
Prasun Sonwalkar
Hindustan Times

Britain is expanding its diplomatic and trade representation across India as the pace of infrastructure development and business quickens under the Narendra Modi government, Foreign secretary Philip Hammond said here on Friday.

Speaking at the 14th Asian Achievers Awards event organised by the Gujarat Samachar Group, Hammond said promoting trade was a core activity of the Foreign Office in India. Besides the high commission in New Delhi, Britain has deputy high commissions in Kolkata, Mumbai and Chennai, several trade offices across India, and an assistance office for UK nationals in Goa.

He paid tributes to the Asian community in Britain, whose business activity generates over 60 billion pounds annually. Prime Minister David Cameron and leader of the opposition Ed Miliband sent messages to the event, hailing the contribution of Asians to British social and economic life.

Prominent novelist Jeffrey Archer conducted an auction that raised 100,000 pounds for the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women, which runs projects in India. Items auctioned included a cricket bat signed by M S Dhoni and other members of the Indian cricket team.

Winners of the awards included noted writer Hanif Kureishi, businesswoman Priya Lakhani, field-defining physicist Tejinder Singh Virdee, sports administrator Dilawer Singh, and crown prosecutor Nazir Afzal (who was the prosecutor in Indian student Anuj Bidve murder case).

The lifetime achievement award went to Pakistan-origin Anwar Pervez, founder of a successful cash and carry chain.

CB Patel, editor of the group, honoured the bravery and patriotism to the late Flt Lt Rakesh Chauhan, who died in Afghanistan in April. Chauhan’s family is based in Leicester.