India committed to stronger ties with Britain: Envoy

Birmingham, Oct 5 (IANS) India is committed to stronger engagement with Britain in the years to come, Indian High Commissioner Navtej Sarna has said.

“India is committed to a stronger engagement with the United Kingdom in the years to come, given the interest levels of the two governments in the major economic initiatives undertaken in India,” Sarna said at a reception he organised for the Conservative Friends of India on the sidelines of the Annual Conservative Party Conference here on Monday.

Sarna, who has been named India’s new Ambassador to the US, said that India cherished its strategic partnership with Britain and was “confident of a further strengthening and diversification of this important relationship”.

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson hailed the partnership between India and Britain and the potential of stronger economic relations between the two countries with India as a huge market for British goods.

According to British International Trade Secretary Liam Fox, while historical ties and past engagements have been steadfast and strong, it is the shared future that makes the bilateral relationship between India and Britain so important.

He stressed the need to review the existing tariff and non-tariff barriers to reap the phenomenal potential of India-Britain trade relations.

Fox, who will be co-chairing the India-UK Joint Economic Trade Committee (JETCO) later this year, underlined his personal commitment to Britain’s engagement with India.

Among others who attended the event were Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Sajid Javid, Chairman of the Conservative Party Patrick McLoughlin and Minister for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation Jo Johnson.

Co-Chairs of Conservative Friends of India Shailesh Vara, MP, and Ranjit Baxi expressed their commitment to continue to work together closely with the High Commission of India towards stronger India-Britain ties, a statement issued by the Indian mission said.