New Delhi, April 13: Trade, investment, technology and flow of people and ideas will be high on the agenda when Prime Minister Narendra Modi visits Britain next week, British High Commissioner to India Dominic Asquith said here on Friday. Modi and his British counterpart, Theresa May are scheduled to hold a bilateral summit on April 18. Briefing the media here ahead of the visit, Asquith said it comes at a time when the bilateral relationship is in “very, very good healthy”. This is the third exchange of prime ministerial visits after Modi’s visit to Britain November 2015 and May’s visit to India in November 2016, her first outside the European Union after assuming office.
Stating that trade between the two countries increased by 15 per cent in the last one year, he said that it is “remarkably balanced” in terms of trade in goods and services. In terms of finance, he said the London Stock Exchange is playing an increasingly important role as a place to raise money to meet India’s huge infrastructure requirements. In terms of investments, he said that while Britain is the largest investor in India among the G20 countries, India is the fourth largest investor in Britain. Modi’s visit to Britain this time has been themed “Living bridge and tech partnership”.
Stating that defence is another area of cooperation, he said that Britain was one of our four countries whose defence minister attended the ongoing DefExpo, India’s premier defence trade exhibition, near Chennai. Stating that it goes much beyond the fact that there are 1.5 million people of Indian origin in Britain, he said it is about relationships between institutions, universities, and research bodies. The High Commissioner also said that there was a 30 per cent rise in the number of student visas issued by his country to Indians last year. Stating that 14,000 Indian students go to Britain for masters degree programme every year, he said that “we want to build on that”. Asquith also said that Britain issues more work visas to Indians than all other nationalities combined. (IANS)