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India, UK raise anti-terror cooperation to new level

EAM Pranab Mukherjee and his British counterpart discuss a wide range of issues, including terror, climate change and economic ties, reports Sutirtho Patranobis.

india Updated: Nov 02, 2006 23:40 IST

India and Britain on Thursday decided to step up cooperation to tackle threats posed by terrorism and climate change besides boosting the already buoyant bilateral economic relations.

British Foreign Minister, Margaret Beckett, after emerging from a meeting with External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee said they had constructive discussions on bilateral India-UK relationship, important global challenges and opportunities and regional and security issues, including counter terrorism. She added that bilateral relationship between the two countries had never been better.

Later, after a meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh she dwelt on the importance the two countries were giving to adopting new, cleaner technologies to harness energy.

Beckett said the Indian PM and she acknowledged the links between energy and climate security as highlighted by the Stern Review. The Review is a report prepared by the head of British Government's Economic Services, Sir Nicholas Stern, which says that tackling climate change now will be cheaper than the cost of inaction.

``We agreed that the Stern Review highlighted strong opportunities to develop these links (between energy and climate security) by working closely together across a range of advanced energy technologies, including coal,'' Beckett said.

At a joint press conference she had with Mukherjee, Beckett said that they discussed ways to take forward the promise of cooperation on counter-terrorism that Singh and Prime Minister Tony Blair had made earlier this year in London.

Beckett and Mukherjee emphasised the robust trade links between the two countries. The visiting leader said in the first half of 2006, India was the second largest investor in Britain. The UK is the third largest investor in India.

Beckett, on a six-day India visit, said India is an important and powerful country with an emerging economy, and added that the UK has been at the forefront of calls for India to have a permanent seat on the UN Security Council. ``We were prominent in inviting India to the G8 meetings at Gleneagles last year,'' she said.

Mukherjee said that India's academic links with UK are also increasing and at present there are more than 16000 Indian students studying there.

``Our human capital is the greatest resource that we have and this is helping lay the foundation for a strong synergy between our two knowledge-based economics,'' Mukherjee added.


First Published: Nov 02, 2006 13:47 IST