Manmohan, Cameron to step up cooperation in counter-terrorism

India and the United Kingdom decided to give an impetus to their trade and security ties during high level talks between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his counterpart, David Cameron, here on Thursday.

Following a detailed discussion on global security challenges, the Prime Ministers decided to step up their cooperation in counter-terrorism and welcomed the development of broad-based cooperation in the defence sector. They noted the joint army exercises that took place in India in June, the joint naval exercises now under way and looked forward to the joint air exercises scheduled for October.

In a joint press statement, the two leaders felt a civil nuclear cooperation declaration signed earlier this year had created opportunities for wide ranging cooperation, especially with regard to exchanges between scientific institutions.

India and the U.K. decided to constitute a joint CEOs Forum to be co-chaired by Peter Sands and Ratan Tata and an India-U.K. Infrastructure Group in order to double bilateral trade in the next five years. Building upon past experience, the two sides also agreed to launch a new phase of the U.K.-India Education and Research Initiative.

The Infrastructure Group will address India's particular interest in attracting international as well as domestic investment in infrastructure over the next decade and how best the two governments can enable and encourage this.

“With Prime Minister David Cameron's visit we have set in place a new momentum to drive our strategic partnership forward. I have no doubt that this will be good for both our countries, and it responds to the wishes and aspiration of both our peoples,” observed Dr. Singh.

In order to give a fillip to bilateral ties with the help of existing mechanisms, India and the U.K. also agreed to review the mandate, composition and structure of existing bilateral bodies in trade, investment and economic cooperation.

Discussions were also held on a Memorandum of Understanding between the government of India and the U.K. Trade and Investment to enhance investment in the roads sector, and the two sides looked forward to its early finalisation. Both sides also agreed to explore initiatives that will create resources and incentives to help businesses deploy renewable energy, particularly for the poor.

The lone agreement signed between the two countries pertained to culture. It was hoped that the India-U.K. Memorandum of Understanding on Cultural Co-operation will provide a framework for a significant expansion of the rich cultural exchange between the two countries.

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