Cameron gets warm welcome in Delhi, vows to strengthen ties

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New Delhi, July 29 (ANI): British Prime Minister David Cameron was accorded a warm reception at the Presidential Palace here on Thursday, and used the occasion to reiterate his commitment to strengthen economic and cultural ties between the two countries.

Cameron, who was greeted by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, arrived in India on Wednesday and spent the first day of his visit in Bangalore where he clinched 1.1 billion dollars worth of defence deals.

Cameron's visit is part of a big diplomatic push to court Indian business and reenergize trade relations with the Asian giant.

Cameron said he was also looking to strengthen cultural ties along with a push for more bilateral economic deals.

"Well, I have the expectation of building what is already a very strong partnership between Britain and India. And I think we can make it stronger and deeper. And we are looking at all the aspects of the relationship from business and commerce and industry but also cultural exchanges. Looking forward to the Commonwealth Games, which I'm sure will be a great success for India and building a very strong relations there are between two countries but also our two people's as well," he said.

Cameron leads the biggest trade delegation in modern times to India as a statement of intent amid talk of Britain wanting to forge a 'special relationship' with India-a phrase more closely associated with Britain's ties with the United States.

As a major step towards boosting defence ties, Cameron sealed a major 1.1 billion USD aircraft deal, on Wednesday, enabling the UK's premier defence manufacturers, British Aerospace (BAE) Systems, to supply 57 Hawk Jets to the Indian Air Force and Indian Navy.

India belongs to the 'BRIC' group of rapidly growing emerging economies along with China, Brazil and Russia.

Cameron has often lamented that Britain trades more with Ireland than it does with all the BRICs combined and he has vowed to remedy that with vigorous pro-trade diplomacy.

His visit is not intended to yield any immediate deals between the two governments, but is rather seen as the dawn of a long-term British strategy to focus relations with India on economic exchanges.

Cameron is later scheduled to meet various Indian leaders and also hold bilateral discussions with Prime Minister Singh. (ANI)

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