Modi to unveil long-term vision for ‘special’ India-UK ties

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Ahead of his maiden UK visit, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has sought to bolster special relationship with the UK and underlined that he will chart out a long-term vision to upscale India-UK strategic relationship to a new level.

With the world’s eyes on the trajectory of India’s economic reforms, the prime minister pitched vigorously for the India Story and sought more British investments into Asia’s third largest economy.  

Voicing his “excitement” at the upcoming three-day UK tour starting November 12, Mr. Modi described the bilateral relationship as “not an ordinary one,” in an article for The Sunday Times.

“I am looking forward to my visit to the United Kingdom with anticipation and excitement. Britain is a special partner, and ours is no ordinary relationship,” Mr Modi wrote. “I see great promise and potential in our relationship ahead. Britain’s economic resurgence is impressive. Its culture of innovation in technology and services sustains its leadership in many areas,” he added.

Describing Britain as a “special partner,” Mr Modi   said the upcoming visit will be a celebration of the “diversity and breadth” of ties. “Away from Westminster, the City of London and Wembley Stadium, David Cameron and I will also chart an ambitious long-term agenda to take our strategic partnership to a new level. This is a shared endeavour that our people so richly deserve and our world so clearly needs.”

The India-UK ties address the “aspirations of our societies and the needs of our times in a significant measure”, the prime minister underlined. Britain brings in the maximum investments in India among the G20 countries, and India invests more in UK than in the rest of European Union combined.

“We are creating the human resources of the future, seeking solutions to food and health security, and addressing emerging challenges such as climate change. Our security agencies are collaborating to keep our cities safe, our citizens secure and our cyber-networks protected. Our defence cooperation enhances our confidence in standing up for our values,” Mr Modi wrote.

Elaborating on India’s efforts to achieve peace and stability in Asia, Mr. Modi said: “We seek the same future for our neighbours that we desire for India. We will be unrelenting in our efforts to achieve a stable, democratic South Asia, joined together in shared prosperity.”

Projecting the Indian Ocean is the “world’s lifeline”, Mr. Modi wrote about India’s role in keeping the global commons secure. “We will do our part to keep the Indian Ocean secure and free for commerce. We will contribute to build a peaceful and cooperative Asia Pacific region.”

Focusing on the troubled West Asia region, Mr Modi highlighted that India was now engaging more in the region, not just to protect its vital interests but also in support of the region’s effort to be at peace with itself.

Mr. Modi touches down in London on November 12 for a packed schedule, that includes a lunch with Queen Elizabeth II and a host of engagements with his British counterpart David Cameron.

The article’s centerpiece was a new sense of optimism in India’s future and the efforts of the Modi government to enhance the ease of doing business in the country.

“This is also an exciting moment of optimism in a nation of 1.25 billion people. Just 18 months after a historic mandate, written in hope and change and forged by a vote of aspirations, our vision is becoming reality. India’s growth has accelerated to 7.5 per cent per year — currently the highest for a major economy in the world,” Mr. Modi said.

“Our economy has become stable, fiscal balance has improved and inflation has declined. We have jumped up several places in the World Bank’s ‘Ease of Doing Business’ ranking and investors from around the world are responding enthusiastically,” Mr Modi stressed.

In a vote of confidence for the India story and Mr Modi’s leadership, British corporates are planning to unveil deals estimated to be around $15 billion during his trip to London.  

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