Britain and France have voiced their support for India’s case for permanent membership of the UN Security Council and favoured deepening of bilateral ties between them.
The backing from countries came during a bilateral meeting the new British Prime Minister David Cameron and French President Nicolas Sarkozy had with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh late last night ahead of the G20 Summit.
This was the first meeting Singh had with Cameron after his election as British Prime Minister and congratulated him on his victory.
Dr. Singh extended to him an invitation to visit India which he accepted and would be coming in July.
Cameron had visited India in 2006 as a leader of opposition.
Prime Minister Singh told him that he was looking forward to Cameron’s visit to India.
India and Britain had raised their bilateral relationship to a strategic partnership level in 2006 and both the leaders agreed that there was huge potential to expand relationship in trade and human resource development.
Trade between the two countries is estimated at $ 13 billion and the U.K. is the fourth largest single investor in India.
India also has considerable investment in Britain.
The British Prime Minister said that he would welcome more Indian students to come to Britain for studies.
The two leaders shared the views on the G20 Summit.
Dr. Singh told him that concerted efforts were needed by all countries to see that global recovery was consolidated as at the moment it was seen to be tentative.
The British Prime Minister underlined the need for reforms of the international financial institutions and the U.N.
“The British Prime Minister supported India’s case for permanent membership of the United Nations Security Council,” an external affairs ministry spokesman told reporters.
Dr. Singh also had a warm meeting with French President Sarkozy recalling his visit to India in January 2008.
He extended a fresh invitation to him and his wife Carla Bruni to visit India again.
President Sarkozy recalled Prime Minister’s visit to France in July last year where he was the guest of honour on the occasion of French national day.
French President had made a special gesture of inviting 400 personnel of Indian Armed Forces to take part in the parade on the occasion.
During the meeting Mr. Sarkozy said he wanted India to play a critical role in world affairs and not just in G20.
He supported India’s case for permanent membership of UNSC and its role in counterterrorism.
Mr. Sarkozy and Dr. Singh discussed the G20 Summit whose chair will pass on to France after November this year when Seoul hosts a summit.
Mr. Sarkozy said he wanted to consult India in forging a vision for G20.
The two leaders also discussed bilateral cooperation and reviewed the trade ties between them.
France is fifth largest trading partner among the European Countries with India.