Gordon Brown arrives in India to combat terrorism

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New Delhi, Jan 20: British Prime Minister Gordon Brown arrived here today to improve business ties and enhance co-operation on climate change and counter-terrorism with India. In addition to bilateral talks, issues of terrorism and turmoil in Pakistan will be high on the agenda during Gordon Brown"s one-and-a-half day trip.

"Both the countries are keen to work together to combat terrorism," British High Commissioner to India, Richard Stagg, had said. Stagg had offered to share with India his country"s experience in handling the situations like bomb blasts, which would be helpful in "managing big sporting events" which faced the risk of terrorism.

Apart from other important issues, Brown will discuss with his Indian counterpart Dr. Manmohan Singh the issues relating to the current turmoil in Pakistan. He will also call on President Pratibha Patil, UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi, and other leaders.

Brown arrives in Delhi from China, and the visit will be about introducing British business to one of the Asia's economic giants. Brown last visited India in January 2007 as Chancellor of Exchequer. This is the 4th India-UK Summit since the comprehensive strategic partnership between India and the UK was launched in September 2004.

During Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's September 2004 visit, the two countries had adopted a Joint Declaration, which upgraded bilateral relations to the level of a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership which listed a whole series of areas for cooperation - including cooperation in trade and investment; education; science and technology and other relations.

Further expansion of economic linkages, research and development collaboration and cooperation in higher education and academic exchanges; and cooperation in counter-terrorism are among the important areas for consultations.

The two sides will enter into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) India-UK Higher Education Leadership Development Programme to develop leadership skills in Indian universities. University Grants Commission (UGC), India; Leadership Foundation for Higher Education (LFHE), UK and UK India Education and Research Initiative (UKIERI), UK are the partners in the proposed MOU.

Brown's visit to India and China comes at a time when western economies are starting to see a slight slowdown.

So, while trade and investment will be at the top of the agenda at the summit in New Delhi, India will look at discussing immigration, which could become an issue as Britain starts to tighten its borders.

Mr Brown will also be awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the Delhi University tomorrow. Tomorrow morning, as part of the Summit, the first ever India-UK CEO Roundtable on Climate Change and Corporate Responsibility will be held to share experiences and best practices and identify potential collaborations between the Indian and UK businesses in this area.

The Round Table will also be attended by Lord Digby Jones, UK Minister of State for Trade and Investment, and Mr Richard Lambert, Director General, Confederation of British Industry (CBI), (accopmpanying the UK Prime Minister as part of his delegation).

Minister for Science and Technology Kapil Sibal and Mr Sunil Bharati Mittal, President, Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) will also address the roundtable.

Later today, Mr Brown is scheduled to visit a women's empowerment event' for an interaction with Indian women entrepreneurs.

Most of his engagements are scheduled for tomorrow. He will call on President Pratibha Patil and have meetings with External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee and Leader of Opposition L K Advani.

The British Prime Minister, while commending India for becoming a major global player, said the UK was ''proud'' to have worked closely with India...I look forward to cementing the relationship.'' He hoped to work with India to reduce carbon emission and tackle the challenge of climate change. ''Climate Change is a shared dilemma and the risks of inaction are great. We must act now and act together,'' he said in an interview days before arriving here.

The two countries will sign two significant Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs)for expanding business ties. Commerce Minister Kamal Nath and Britain's Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform, John Hutton, will be present at the signing ceremony.

The two sides will enter into an MOU on India-UK Higher Education Leadership Development Programme to develop leadership skills in Indian Universities. It will be signed by the University Grants Commission (UGC) and the Leadership Foundation of the UK.

On the agenda of the talks is also exploring possibilities for working together in third countries.

The situation in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Myanmar will be high on the agenda, officials said.

ANI

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