David Cameron meets Manmohan Singh before attending CHOGM

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New Delhi, Nov 14: A day before attending the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Sri Lanka's capital, Colombo on Friday, the UK Prime Minister David Cameron met his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh in the national capital Delhi on Thursday morning.

Cameron is in India on a 'whirlwind' day-long visit, his third in two years, on his way to Colombo to attend the CHOGM on November 15-16.

David Cameron bats for closer India-UK ties

Seeking broadening of bilateral ties, British Prime Minister David Cameron said UK and India should be "partners of choice" as both the countries can effectively deal with various challenges like combating terrorism by working closely with each other.

Cameron, who held talks with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on range of bilateral, regional and international issues, said he was really excited about what both the countries can achieve by enhancing cooperation.

This is Cameron's third visit to India in two years.

On immigration issue, he clarified that there was no limit on number of Indian students going to UK.

"Britain and India should be partners of choice; we both want to fight terrorism. The future really excites me about what Britain and India can do together," said Cameron, who arrived here last night on day-long visit.

Speaking on Sachin Tendulkar's last test match, Cameron said, "I have a picture of his at the UK stadium, I hope he likes that as a gift."

On the visa bond issue, Cameron said Britain needs to control immigration as it is a much smaller country geographically than India but at the same time he clarified that there was no limit on number of Indian students going to India.

"Fact one, there is no limit on the number of Indian students that can come to Britain and study; fact two, having completed your university degree there is no limit on the number of people who can do a job in Britain," he told a news channel.

Cameron's visit to India comes over a week after UK announced its decision to scrap the controversial 3,000-pound visa bond scheme for some "high risk" overseas visitors to the the country including those from India which was scheduled to be implemented on a pilot basis this month.

India, which had raised the matter with the UK Government, welcomed the decision.

The British Prime Minister, referring to the jump in number people immigrating to Britain, said there wasn't much control on whether people were coming to his country to study or not.

"We had a policy on immigration which wasn't well managed, which wasn't well controlled, so you do need proper immigration control but within that immigration control we want to have attractive offers to students around the world," he said.

On Prime Minister Singh not attending the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Sri Lanka, Cameron said he respected the decision and asserted that Britain also wants to see greater efforts of reconciliation by Sri Lanka on the Tamil issue.

"India, Canada and Britain, we all have the same approach towards Sri Lanka which is we want to see greater efforts of reconciliation, we want to see better efforts on human rights, we want to see proper enquiries in the dreadful civil war, so there is no difference in policy," he said.

"I totally respect the decision of India. I think the advantage of going to Sri Lanka will help me throw light on some of these issues," Cameron said.

Cameron arrives in Kolkata

Cameron was received at the airport by Panchayat Minister Subrata Mukherjee and other officials.

Cameron will head to Akashvani Bhavan, the All India Radio headquarters where he will interact with the British media.

He will then reach the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) campus in the city's southern outskirts for an interactive session with students. Some industrialists are likely to be invited for the programme.

Cameron, the second British premier to visit Kolkata after John Major, will also visit the Indian Museum before a final stopover at the British deputy high Commission's office where he is slated to meet Banerjee.

Cameron will leave for Sri Lanka in the evening.

OneIndia News

(With agencies' inputs)

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