Tuesday March 26, 2019
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Modi in UK: Industry must match with political will to push India-Britain ties

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London: After assuring global investors on how India is the preferred destination for doing business and investments, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said it was for industry captains to push bilateral ties with Britain as the political will of the two nations was well established.

“India and the United Kingdom are economically made for each other. This relationship has to be driven by private sector CEOs now,” Modi said on the second day of his engagements here during his address to the UK-India CEO Forum.

 

People of UK and India are easily compatible. This is in itself is a big advantage.

British Prime Minister David Cameron, who also addressed the forum meeting, articulated a similar position at the meeting, attended by around 30 chief executives from the two sides. “We both have the political will to take our economic relationship forward,” Cameron said.

The Indian prime minister, who had made a series of statements and oversaw the release of several joint statements with his host and British counterpart on Thursday, said he was particularly keen that the global investment community participates in India’s infrastructure projects.

“We want to develop our railway stations in the public-private partnership mode,” Modi said, adding: “Defense manufacturing is also the backbone of our ‘Make in India’ initiative.”

Modi also said India was looking at the global stage now. “We are confidently, consistently and ceaselessly working to integrate our economy with the world,” he told the meeting, held at Lancaster House, close to Buckingham Palace.

The Indian prime minister also referred to initiatives such as “Make in India” and said a special emphasis was on sprucing up infrastructure, further opening up of the economy to foreign capital, building 50 million new houses by 2022 and generating 175 GW of renewable energy.

British companies in India will be a win-win partnership for both countries.

According to a statement issued after the meetings between the two prime ministers, they looked forward to the first meeting of the reconstituted India-UK CEOs Forum, and had tasked it with advising them on the trade and investment opportunities as also challenges faced by the two sides.

According to an analysis by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), the institutional partner from the India-UK CEO Forum, while the cumulative equity investment from Britain to India between January 2003 and August 2015 was $54.35 billion, it was $11.3 billion reciprocally.

On Thursday, deals worth $14.2 billion were signed by the businesses of the two countries.

After the CEOs Forum meeting, Modi arrived at Buckingham Palace, where he was received by Queen Elizabeth II. She was hosting a lunch for him.

“Her Majesty the Queen with PM @narendramodi at Buckingham Palace,”  PMO tweeted.

“Building on the bonds of history. PM @narendra Modi calls on Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II,” tweeted Vikas Swarup, spokesperson for the external affairs ministry.

The Indian prime minister began the day by continuing bilateral parleys with Cameron at the Chequers, the countryside retreat of the British prime minister. Modi was hosted by Cameron to a private dinner on Thursday at the Chequers and he spent the night there.

During the course of his stay at the Chequers, the Indian prime Friday presented his British counterpart with specially handcrafted bookends made of wood, marble and silver.

Each pair of bookends has a silver bell which symbolizes inner wisdom and is engraved with a Sanskrit verse from the Bhagavad Gita along with its English rendering, an official statement said.

Keeping in mind Cameron’s fondness for Robert Graves’s work on World War I, ‘Goodbye to All That’, Modi also presented to him David Omissi’s ‘Indian Voices of the Great War’.

To the first lady, the Indian prime minister presented Aranmula metal mirror, a unique handicraft from Kerala, and Pashmina stoles.

Later on Friday evening, Modi will address around 60,000 people of Indian origin at the iconic Wembley Stadium here.

This will be followed by a reception in his honor by India’s High Commissioner to Britain, Ranjan Mathai.

(Inputs from IANS)

Next Story

Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May Survives Through Vote Of No-Confidence

If a deal is impossible, and no one wants no deal, then who will finally have the courage to say what the only positive solution is?

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Theresa May
Prime Minister Theresa May leaves 10 Downing Street in London, Jan. 16, 2019. VOA

British Prime Minister Theresa May survived a no-confidence vote in parliament Wednesday, one day after lawmakers voted overwhelmingly against her plan to divorce Britain from the European Union.

Surviving the vote enables May to refocus on getting a Brexit deal through parliament. She has until Monday to offer a new proposal to the House of Commons, but it isn’t clear what she will propose.

Shortly after the 325 to 306 vote allowing May to remain in office, she invited party leaders for Brexit talks Wednesday night.

More talks?

May said before the vote Wednesday that Britain would leave the EU on the March 29 target date, and that the bloc would only consider extending the negotiating period if there were a realistic exit plan.

Aides to the prime minister said she will try to buy more time and return to Brussels to try to cajole EU leaders into a renegotiation.

EU leaders have repeatedly rejected the possibility of renegotiations since the deal was concluded in November, but British officials hope Brussels now may offer enough concessions to secure parliamentary backing on a replayed vote on an amended deal.

Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the main opposition Labor Party, filed a motion of no confidence in the government immediately after the result Tuesday.

Britain would have held a general election had May lost the vote. Most analysts said they expected her to survive the vote, and the minority Northern Ireland party she relies on to keep her minority government in office had said it would back the government.

Tuesday’s vote was the biggest parliamentary reversal ever handed a sitting government, with lawmakers — including more than 100 rebels from her ruling Conservative Party — refusing to endorse the highly contentious Brexit deal.

Britain, May
Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the Labor Party, talks during a no-confidence debate after Parliament rejected Theresa May’s Brexit deal, in London, Jan. 16, 2019. VOA

The government’s defeat plunged into greater disarray Britain’s scheduled March 29 exit from the EU. Major questions remain about how and whether it will happen.

EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said Wednesday that after the British parliament’s rejection of a draft agreement detailing the country’s divorce from the EU, the risk of reaching the deadline with no deal in place is higher than ever.

The vote against the agreement was the biggest parliamentary reversal ever handed a sitting government, with lawmakers, including more than 100 rebels from her ruling Conservative party, refusing to endorse the highly contentious Brexit deal.

Just 202 lawmakers backed May’s deal with 432 voting against it. The defeat dwarfed the previous 1924 record when then-Labor Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald lost a vote by 166, triggering the collapse of his government and a general election, which he lost.

After the vote, May said, “The vote tells us nothing” about what the House of Commons would agree to regarding Brexit.

Second referendum

Britain, May
A pro-European demonstrator protests in front of a Leaver campaign board opposite the Houses of Parliament in London, Jan. 15, 2019, ahead of lawmakers’ vote on whether to accept British Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal. Later, the plan was soundly defeated. Britain is due to leave the EU on March 29. VOA

The defeat of May’s plan will give further momentum to a burgeoning campaign in the House of Commons, and among Remainers in the country, for a second referendum, according to analysts. Remainers hope a replayed referendum would reverse the Brexit plebiscite of 2016, which Leavers narrowly won.

The vote on the deal — which originally was due in December but was delayed by the government when it became clear there was insufficient backing for it to pass — also leaves hanging in the balance May’s future as prime minister. Her aides maintained at the end of a day of high political drama that she wouldn’t resign.

“She is the person who has to deliver Brexit,” said British Business Minister Claire Perry, who said May didn’t need to resign.

“There will be other attempts at this. There will be strenuous efforts to improve on the deal,” Perry said.

The sheer scale of the defeat throws into doubt whether even a reshaped Brexit Withdrawal Agreement would secure parliamentary approval in the future, even if the EU is prepared to reopen negotiations.

Britain, May
British Business Minister Claire Perry arrives to attend a Cabinet meeting at Downing Street in London, Jan. 15, 2019. VOA

‘Hopelessly optimistic’

“Her Plan B, more of the same, is hopelessly optimistic,” said commentator Isabel Oakeshott.

Also Read: British Lawmakers Rejects Brexit Deal, PM Faces Vote Of No-Confidence

EU chief Jean-Claude Juncker tweeted when news of the historic vote broke: “I take note with regret of the outcome of the vote in the House of Commons this evening. I urge the UK to clarify its intentions as soon as possible. Time is almost up.”

EU President Donald Tusk reflected the frustration of many in Brussels, tweeting: “If a deal is impossible, and no one wants no deal, then who will finally have the courage to say what the only positive solution is?” (VOA)