India and Britain on Friday agreed to increase the flow of trade and investments, particularly Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), in regard to market access for both goods and services and also look for collaboration and opportunities in the defence sector.

Union Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma said India and the U.K. had a strong relationship in the form of cooperation in science and technology, defence, education and security related issues. “There has been progress on defence collaboration and the talks could focus on tie-ups in the field of air defence too. I know both Indian defence manufacturers and those from Britain would like to do more work together. We hope to progress on this,” he said after the 6th session of the Indo-U.K. Joint Economic & Trade Commission meeting in London.

The Indian side was led by Mr. Sharma while the British delegation was led by Business Minister Peter Mandelson. The U.K. is among India’s major trading partners and bilateral trade with Britain has registered a growth of $12 billion in 2008-09.

Addressing his British counterpart, Mr. Sharma said the massive infrastructure development programme being undertaken in India presented a huge opportunity for foreign investment. “India recognised the experience of the U.K. in infrastructure development through public-private partnerships, which could be gainfully exploited for the establishment of capacity building programmes in India,” Mr. Sharma said.

In the areas of manufacturing, innovations and green technologies, both sides agreed on the importance of bilateral investment flows in the R&D sector and welcomed efforts to promote technology transfer and links between entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and universities.

Working group

A new working group on management of FMCG and agri-business supply chain was also announced as it was felt that a collaborative approach to the value addition in agriculture in India would create a mutually beneficial environment for both countries and support the inclusive growth agenda in India. Mr. Sharma also met Ed Miliband, Secretary of State for Department of Energy and Climate Change.

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