PM to leave for UK and Finland tomorrow

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New Delhi, Oct 8: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who leaves here tomorrow on a six-day visit to the United Kingdom and Finland, will have bilateral talks with his British counterpart Tony Blair and other European leaders at the India-European Union (EU) Summit in Helsinki with the main focus on terrorism.

Arriving in London on October 9, Dr Singh will also address the India-UK Investment Summit on Tuesday. The UK is a key partner for India in view of a large Indian community of around 1.5 million people living in the country and the two countries have close political relations.

Besides Commerce and Industry Minister Kamal Nath, Minister of State for External Affairs Anand Sharma and other senior officials, a 70-member business delegation is also accompanying the Prime Minister.

During his one-on-one with Mr Blair, Dr Singh is expected to seek an urgent response from him on the Mumbai blasts and the joint strategy to be evolved by both the countries as UK has also been a victim of terror.

Sources said both the Prime Ministers will discuss how they can form a strategic partnership to counter such acts of terror.

Security and other economic collaborations apart, the civilian nuclear energy cooperation with the US is also expected to come up during the talks.

The two Prime Ministers have met four times since May 2004 when the Joint Declaration establishing a Strategic Partnership was adopted. There are several bilateral mechanisms for close strategic and economic dialogue.

Following the adoption of the Strategic Partnership in September 2004, several important developments have taken place including creation of the Joint Economic and Trade Committee and the initiation of an economic and financial dialogue.

There has been an extensive exchange of high level visits over the past few years.

On October 11, the Prime Minister will travel to Cambridge where he will be conferred an honorary degree by the University.

He will also address the Indian community at a reception hosted by the Indian High Commissioner.


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