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Northern Ireland's Secy of State to be in India

Leading a high-level trade delegation to India next week, Peter Hain plans to woo B'wood, reports Nabanita Sircar.

india Updated: Mar 31, 2006 19:25 IST

The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Peter Hain will lead a high-level trade delegation to India next week, and one of the duties on the agenda, is, not surprisingly, to woo the Indian film industry.

A team of Indian filmmakers is already visiting Northern Ireland this week to look at shooting sites, but more effort will be made during the visit starting next Thursday. Tourism is seen as a natural beneficiary of any film adventure in Northern Ireland.

While companies like HCL Technologies Ltd which already have contact centres in Belfast, Hain believes there is great scope for joint ventures with India in Northern Ireland's high-tech sector.

"There is great opportunity for increasing trade and investment both ways. Our companies are increasingly seizing opportunities in India through alliances that will strengthen their international competitiveness," he said. "We think we can add value to India's huge knowledge industry and benefit from it."

Speaking to the media in London on Thursday, Hain said that on his visit, "The Prime Minister has asked me to carry messages to India on global issues."

Citing Afghanistan, Hain said, "India is a close partner," and iterated that it is a "critical country" to be working with in partnership in the future.

Visiting India for the third time, having been there earlier as foreign minister in 1999 and 2000, Hain said that along with the Republic of Ireland, there is now an effort to represent the island of Ireland.

Currently, Northern Ireland's investment into India is £15 million while from India it is £20 million.