Lift barriers, make it easier to do business: Cameron

Calling the Britain-India relationship "special", British Prime Minister David Cameron Monday began his India visit by emphasising that both countries should remove barriers to cooperation and make it easier to invest in each other.

In a bid to woo Indian investors, Cameron announced that London will introduce a same-day visa service for businesses as "we want you to come to our country quickly to invest in our country".

He said this is the time to forge partnerships as the British economy is starting to recover from difficulties of the last two years and the Indian economy pushes ahead to be one of the great powerhouses of the future.

"What we can achieve from this visit is both for the British side and the Indian side to look at any barriers there are to cooperation between us and work together to remove those barriers. That is the spirit with which I come to India on this visit," he said, addressing Indian and British business leaders.

Cameron said as Britain is looking to bring down barriers, "we want the Indian government to continue to open up barriers and make it easier to do business here. We have to make sure that just as we welcome Indian investments into the UK, it is easier for British companies to invest in this vibrant and fast growing economy". This is Cameron's second visit to India since assuming office in 2010 and the biggest delegation that has left British shores.

Cameron said India is planning to add 40 million seats in its universities as well as double its spending on health, and Britain wants to help with both. There is no limit to the number of Indian students who can study at British universities and to the number that could stay and work, he added.

"I know that Indian business and the Indian government want more investment, more technology transfer, including at the highest level. We are going to be rewriting our rules on high-level technology that we are prepared to share with our Indian partner," he added.

Cameron spoke of cooperation with India on all fronts, including business, health, infrastructure and education. "On all the aspects of future development in India, the infrastructure that you are going to build or some of the exciting proposals we are looking at together, like the corridor between Mumbai and Bangalore, we want to explore that with you," he said.

"The Britain-India relationship is not just another relationship, it is quite a special relationship. There are several things our countries share. You are the world's largest democracy and we are one of the oldest. We also jointly face the scourge of terrorism that we have to fight and we will stand together and fight it together and there is no better place to say that than in Mumbai," he said, adding that the relationship is "all about the future rather than the past".

Cameron's second visit is a graphic expression of the desire to forge partnership with India, said Ratan Tata, chairman emeritus of Tata Sons. Both countries could partner to address Indian markets and third country markets, he added.

"The level and availability of technology in the UK is enormous and there is a great potential for Indian and UK companies to commercialise those technologies that will benefit us both," he said. Tata said the group had no idea there would be a financial meltdown in Britain after they made ambitious investments.

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