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Time to study, invest in India: Britain

world Updated: Jan 28, 2012 11:37 IST

India is making its mark on the global economy with "electrifying skill, innovation and dynamism" and now is the time is right to study, invest and work with the country, British Foreign Secretary William Hague has said.

Hague said this while inaugurating the India Institute at the King's College in London on the occasion of India's Republic Day.

The institute would be devoted to promoting intellectual and practical engagement with contemporary India, Hague said.

India "enriches our shared culture in innumerable ways -- from the prize-winning novels of Aravind Adiga to the sporting prowess of Sachin Tendulkar", the foreign secretary said.

"For this century will be shaped by India more than any other that has come before it. Now is the time to study India, to invest in India and to work with India," he said.

Seeking a stronger, wider and deeper relationship between India and Britain, Hague said Britain would be increasing its mission staff in India by at least 30 officers, and plans to open new British Trade Offices and new Deputy High Commissions.

As India develops its economy, Britain's want to be its "partner of choice", he said.

The country has also set a target of doubling trade with India by 2015. Exports to India were up more than 40 % in 2011.

Hague stressed that British universities were a "great asset to our nation" as people from other nations came to study here. This also contributed to the economy and to Britain's "reputation as an open society".

He said every legitimate student, business person or visitor was welcome to hsi country. "We want the brightest and the best to come to Britain."

The British Council and the Project English Initiative, with support from the Department for International Development, has trained around 17 million students and one million teachers in English all across India.

Hague said Britain wants to see India at the international decision-making bodies, to help address global issues.

"That is why we support reform of the UN Security Council and a permanent seat for India. It is playing an increasingly important role in the affairs of the world," he said.