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British MPs parley cementing ties with India

Advani briefed British MPs on some of the discussions he had with the US and British leaders, reports Vijay Dutt.

india Updated: Dec 27, 2003 23:21 IST
Vijay Dutt
Vijay Dutt

It was the last but a very important meeting during LK Advani'sfour-day UK visit. He addressed a very well-attended gathering in the House of Commons of members of the British Parliament belonging to both Houses.

The function was organised by the Labour Friends of India, in cooperation with the Conservative Parliamentary Friends of India, the Lib Dem Friends of India and the All Party Indo-British Parliamentary Group.

In his brief opening remarks, Advani touched upon some of the discussions during his meetings with the American and British political leadership, including on the issue of terrorism. He underlined the common concerns and aspirations of democracies the world over.

He said the people of India were responsible for making the country such a vibrant democracy. Advani urged the members of Parliament to work for the further promotion and consolidation of Indo-British ties. During the question and answer session, a number of Parliamentarians sought his views on terrorism, Kashmir and socio-economic issues.

A senior MP said Advani's interaction with parliamentarians from across the political spectrum in Britain showed the depth of friendship for India in the British Parliament.

It was agreed that as agreed in the New Delhi Declaration, parliamentary exchanges between the "world's oldest and largest democracies need to be strengthened". The recent launch of the Indo-British Parliamentary Forum was seen as a further step in this direction.

Advani's meeting with the Friends of India in the different parliamentary groups assumed greater importance in this context. Several visits from these Friendship Groups to India are also expected over the next few months.

Among the members of the House of Lords who attended were Lord Dholakia, Lord Janner, Lord Parekh, Lord Corbett, Lord Paul, Lord King, Baroness Prashar and Baroness Flather. Members of the House of Commons, who were present included Barry Gardiner, Piara Singh Khabra, Peter Luff, Malcolm Savidge, Linda Perham, Ashok Kumar, Tom Watson, Joe Benton, Crispin Blunt, Alan Duncan, Keith Vaz, Ann Cryer, Dari Taylor and Mike Gapes.

First Published: Dec 24, 2003 13:43 IST