Talks focus on various aspects of bilateral relations, economic ties

Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai and U.K. Permanent Under Secretary Simon Fraser met here on Friday for the annual Foreign Office consultations with visa difficulties being faced by Indian students and businesspersons being the major focus area for New Delhi.

Both sides put forward their points of view and it was agreed to continue the dialogue on these issues, said official sources.

Besides visa issues, discussions focussed on various aspects of bilateral relations, including economic ties, consular issues as well as a review of the calendar of visits, added the official sources.

The two sides acknowledged the strength of the economic relationship by noting that despite the global economic slowdown India-U.K. trade was growing.

Bilateral trade last fiscal exceeded $16 billion up from $12.5 billion in 2010-11. The U.K. is the fourth largest investor in India and India is the third largest investor in the U.K. Over 700 Indian companies are operational in U.K.

Issues relating to investment climate were discussed. India would like to see greater investments flow from the U.K., Mr. Mathai told Mr. Fraser.

On regional issues there was an extensive exchange of views on developments in West Asia, including Syria.

The situation in Afghanistan and other developments in South Asia and Europe, including the Eurozone crisis were discussed.

Two sides acknowledge strength of economic relationship

Extensive exchange of views on developments in West Asia

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