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Manmohan, Blair to agree counter-terror pact

The two leaders will also discuss North Korea's underground nuclear test as well as other international issues.

india Updated: Oct 10, 2006 12:57 IST

British Prime Minister Tony Blair and his Indian counterpart, Manmohan Singh, are expected to agree on Tuesday on a set of cooperative measures designed to combat terrorism, a spokesman said.

The two leaders, who are due to hold talks in London, will also discuss North Korea's underground nuclear test as well as other international issues, such as the West Asia and climate change, said a spokesman for Blair's office.

In addition, business and trade will be on the agenda of their third annual summit at a time when speculation is mounting that Tata Steel is poised to make an offer for Ango-Dutch steelmaker Corus Group.

"We will agree a package of cooperation in the context of protecting our major cities from terrorist attacks," the Downing Street spokesman said.

"It is felt we could usefully learn lessons from each other," he said noting the experience gleaned by Britain from last year's July 7 London bombings and in India from the July 11 train blasts in Mumbai.

A key focus would be on protecting transport systems and critical national infrastructure - such as airports - as well as working together on security for the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi and the 2012 London Olympics, the spokesman said.

As for North Korea, the spokesman said, "I am sure the prime minister will be interested to hear the views of the Indian prime minister."

Growing Investment

The leaders' meeting has been timed to coincide with a UK-India investment conference being hosted by the Department of Trade and Industry on the same day.

Blair and Singh will also hold talks with British Trade and Industry Secretary Alistair Darling, Commerce Minister Kamal Nath, industry groups and firms including Barclay's Capital and Tata.

India has gone from Britain's eighth-largest investor in 2004-05 to its third largest in 2005-06, investing more than £1 billion ($1.87 billion) last year. More than 500 Indian companies operate in the country.

Britain, for its part is India's third biggest investor.

Darling said he hoped trade links between the two countries would increase even further.

"Our network of trade and investment teams in India will grow by 20 per cent in the next couple of years," he said in a statement. "The talks and agreements on Tuesday show the potential. By building on it we can both grow further, faster."

First Published: Oct 10, 2006 09:07 IST