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      Forge stronger ties with Britain

      Posted AtThe Statesman

      Is a strong relationship with Britain any use to India given it's America and the European Union that have the economic muscle?

      At a time when the global economic power balance is in a state of flux, the USA remains at the top, being doggedly followed by China and the European Union.
      But the economic might of the UK should not be underestimated. According to the IMF, the UK has continuously outperformed the EU in terms of GDP growth in the last two years and is projected to do so in the coming years.
      In 2003, the UK got the lion's share of US direct investment in Europe about 32 per cent.
      Already the UK is the largest European market for India in terms of information technology services.
      It is a strategic destination for Indian companies operating in software, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology and electronics.
      The crumbling National Health Service has opened new opportunities for the Indian healthcare sector, as many Britons are now choosing India for medical treatment to avoid the long wait under the NHS.
      In the new global order, it is unwise to have strong trading relations with only a few nations as any downturn in their economies may lead to a domestic recession.
      For long-term economic benefit, India should forge stronger ties with the UK.
      12 September, Kolkata.
      Old bond
      Britain is a key member of the European Union and a major ally of America, besides being the head of the Commonwealth countries. As a Commonwealth member, India is placed next to Britain. The bond between India and Britain is old. India is growing fast. Through Britain, India can get outsourcing work in the legal, medical and publishing fields from EU countries. Market potential can be explored.
      14 September, Kolkata.
      Woo British Asian businessmen
      While we welcome strong ties with Britain it may not benefit us much economically, given its subordinate position to America on the one hand and to the European Union on the other.
      But there are many Asian multi-millionaire businessmen contributing a lion's share to the British economy. They can be roped in to invest in India.
      12 September, Kolkata.
      Diplomatic imperative
      Maintaining a strong relationship with any country is a diplomatic imperative. Mr Blair represented the EU in the sixth India-EU summit held in Hyderabad recently. Both Mr Blair and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh committed themselves to containing terrorism.
      Dr Singh asked the EU to review export control regimes that sought to restrict high technology transfers to India. Business circles hailed his visit, hoping for increased cooperation in trade and commerce.
      PB SAHA,
      13 September, Kolkata.

      Building economic muscle
      Apart from the agenda on fighting terrorism, Manmohan Singh and Tony Blair also signed agreements on energy supply, strategic stability, co-operation in hydrocarbon, new air services, co-production of films and intellectual property rights during the British Prime Minister's recent visit to India.
      Mr Blair also agreed to increase foreign direct investment levels in India by about $15 billion. Such a strong Indo-British relationship will help India develop her economic muscle.
      12 September, Howrah.

      September 19, 2005


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