Cameron hails ‘partner’ India post-Brexit

BEST OF FRIENDS: Indian prime minister Narendra Modi and British counterpart David Cameron
BEST OF FRIENDS: Indian prime minister Narendra Modi and British counterpart David Cameron

PRIME MINISTER David Cameron on Monday (27) praised “important partner” India in his first statement to parliament since Britain voted to leave the EU, and said that the UK must not turn its back on Europe or the rest of the world.

In his official statement on the “Out- come of the EU Referendum” in the House of Commons, Cameron laid out the future course to be undertaken under a new prime minister after the UK voted to leave the European Union last Thursday (23).

“The nature of the relationship we secure with the EU will be determined by the next government, but I think everyone is agreed that we all want the strongest possible economic link with our European neighbours as well as with our close friends in north America, the Commonwealth and important partners like India and China,” Cameron, 49, said to cheers from MPs.

“Britain is leaving the EU but we must not turn our backs on Europe or the rest of the world,” he said.

The Conservative party has confirmed that a leadership contest will open later this week, with a new leader in place by early September, after Cameron said he would step down following the vote.

Conservative MP Priti Patel, the prime minister’s India diaspora champion who was one of the leading campaigners of the Vote Leave Group, said the UK would forge new trade deals, including with India.

Patel told Eastern Eye: “Britain will have a strong, secure and prosperous future outside of the EU. We will be able to establish trade deals with countries across the world, including India, introduce a fair and balanced immigration system that welcomes the brightest and the best from around the world, and spend the money we would have given to the EU on the things that matter most UK citizens, including our NHS and schools.

“There are fantastic opportunities for our country to take, and in the weeks ahead it is important that the country comes together, respects the Referendum result, and looks forward with hope and optimism for the future. We must now show the world that Britain is open for business.”

Last Friday (24), India said that it valued its ties with both the UK and EU and it would strive to strengthen these relationships.

“We have seen the results of the British referendum on EU member- ship reflecting the choice made by the British people on the issue. We value our multifaceted relationships with both the UK and the EU and will strive to further strengthen these ties in the years ahead,” external affairs ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup said.