UK supports India as UNSC

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New Delhi, Jan 15 (UNI) Stating that ''India has arrived'', United Kingdom Minister of State for Trade and Investment Digby Lord Jones today said his country is supportive of New Delhi becoming a member of the United Nations Security Council(UNSC) and G-8, group of world's leading industrial nations.

During an interface with the media after a meeting with his Indian counterpart Ashwani Kumar here this evening, he said G-8 needs a ''major player like India(who) is already at the top table.'' But at the same time, Mr Jones said India would have to shoulder global responsiblities on the climate front and open its markets to trade and services in the event of becoming a member of world's top bodies such as the UNSC and G-8.

While inviting India to become a partner of the UK in high-value engineering manufacture such as passenger aircrafts and cars, the British Minister lauded Tata's small car 'Nano' by describing the product as 'value for money,' adding it would be wrong to dub it a cheap car which connotes it being inferior.

Mr Jones sought an opening of Indian market in the financial, banking, insurance and legal sectors. Asked if UK's support to India in becoming a member of the UNSC and G-8 was subject to her opening its market in these sectors, he replied in negative, saying these are not conditions. There is no trade-off but added tongue-in-cheek it is not 'free lunch' either.

When asked to comment on UK's demand for opening financial, banking, insurance and legal sectors, Mr Ashwani Kumar said India is seriously engaged in the exercise and is trying to build up a 'political consensus' in opening up these services.

The British Minister said his country was open to services and professional sectors in the belief that these would help to strengthen the economic and political relations between the two countries. Asked how this could be achieved with immigration laws getting increasingly stringent in Britain, Mr Jones said this did not mean UK was getting protectionist. Tougher immigration, he said, was not aimed against India but was borne out of UK's foremost need for safety of its people.

Even France and United States have stringent measures in place to protect their people, adding, safety is becoming a concern of the entire Western world. But he assured that UK values India as its partner in high-end engineering manufacturing because of skills of its engineers and its people being proficient in English language.

He said he accorded top priority to India in taking their bilateral relations to a higher pitch and India is the only country he is visiting for the second time since September last, adding UK was also ready to help it in the education sector.


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