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Cameron visit to mark beginning of 'new partnership': Osborne

world Updated: Jul 25, 2010 19:46 IST

As British Prime Minister David Cameron embarks on his first India trip, his Chancellor of Exchequer on Sunday said the visit would mark the beginning of a "new partnership" with an emerging country, with which UK wants to partner in tackling a range of international challenges, including terrorism.

Cameron will lead this week the strongest British delegation to visit India in modern times, and George Osborne, who will be part of the visit said India matters because of its growing economic and cultural clout on the global stage.

"Alongside a renewed UK-India economic partnership, we want India to become a special partner in tackling a range of international challenges. Both our countries have had to face the scourge of terrorism," Osborne wrote in The Sunday Telegraph.

Cameron undertakes a two-day official visit from Wednesday, eyeing among other high- profile deals a 500 million-pound Hawk jet trainers contract for BAE systems.

Osborne noted that UK-India collaboration can make a real difference to jobs and prosperity in both nations, and to solving the shared global challenges.

"Our coalition government is profoundly committed to a new special relationship with India - between our governments, our businesses and our peoples," he wrote.

Cameron's coalition government has singled out India as a key partner, saying it wants the two countries to forge a "new special relationship" and backing India for a permanent
seat at the UN Security Council.

Osborne today wrote saying: "India matters. Its economy is growing at three times the speed of ours. By 2030 it may have overtaken us in size".

He noted that Indian companies already employ 100,000 people in the UK and how British retailers are reaping the rewards of investing in an Indian retail sector.

"And... it's not just a matter of economics. Later this year thousands of athletes will gather in Delhi for the Commonwealth Games.

"By the middle of this decade, India aims to be only the fourth country to have put a man in space. A billion more cinema-goers around the world settle down with their popcorn
to watch a Bollywood film than rival Hollywood productions," he wrote.

"That's why this week David Cameron will lead the strongest British delegation to visit India in modern times," he said.

He pointed out that the delegation of David Cameron includes top ministers, and CEOs of some of the world's best-known companies, academics from top universities and cultural leaders, showing the importance the government is placing on an India relationship.