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McCartney condemns Belakoba train blast

Written by: Staff

Kolkata, Nov 23 (UNI) British Trade Minister Ian McCartney today condemned the Belakoba train blast in West Bengal and said the UK and India were working to root out terrorism.

''We condemn the Monday's train blast in which seven people have died. Terrorism is the greatest menace to civilisation. The Government of the UK and India are closely working to blot out terrorism,'' he told reporters after a meeting with Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee at the Writers Building.

Describing as ''fruitful'' his discussions with Mr Bhattacharjee, Mr McCartney said they talked about development of infrastructure in the state. ''We discussed the possibilities of potential airports, sea ports and roadways in the state,'' he said.

In reply to a question, the British Minister described as ''apalling'' the present situation in Bangladesh and said the UK Government wanted that the elections in the country were held in time.

UNI KDG KK HS DB2025 Amidst heightened British interest in business opportunities in India, Ian McCartney, minister for trade, begins a four-day visit to India accompanied by a high-level business delegation comprising executives of companies who have offices in India.

The visit from Nov 23-27 is seen as a follow-up of the India-UK Investment Summit held here in October. It was attended by Prime Minister Tony Blair and his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh.

The minister's delegation is largely drawn from the Britain's infrastructure sector and includes senior individuals from companies such as SERCO, British Gas and Halcrow, all of which are currently active in the Indian market.

Before leaving for India, McCartney said: 'The UK and India are engaged in one of the most profitable and significant bilateral trade and investment partnerships in the world, with bilateral trade in goods and services for 2005 totalling 7.9 billion pounds - an increase of over 20 percent on 2004.

'Throughout this visit, I will have opportunities to meet with senior Indian and Pakistani ministers to talk about how we can work together to continue to achieve our shared goals in the international arena, particularly on trade and investment issues.' McCartney is scheduled to meet leading business figures in Kolkata to learn first hand how British business operates in eastern India and promote British infrastructure/public-private-partnership strengths to key decision makers. In Delhi he will represent the British government at the Indian Economic Summit.

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