CONSERVATIVE party chairman James Cleverly said strengthening ties between India and the UK was a “key objective” for Britain.
In a speech at Guildhall to mark the 71st Republic Day celebrations of India in London on Monday (27), Cleverly said there was “a renewed sense of ambition on both sides” as the UK was “determined to focus on building a flourishing modern partnership with India”.
“(Prime minister) Boris Johnson is an internationalist and believes passionately in ensuring that the UK is open to the opportunities that life outside our membership of the EU presents,” Cleverly said, days ahead of Friday’s (31) deadline when Britain leaves the European Union.
He praised the British Indian community for its contribution to “not only to our national success but also to our national culture.
“There are 15 Indian-origin MPs in the Commons; and three in the cabinet, making it most desi cabinet in history,” he said.
Highlighting areas of partnership with India, Cleverly said: “Our 21st century relationship with India is all about the future. I know that together we can achieve great things.
“We see significant scope for growth, not least given that India’s economy is one of the fastest-growing.
“Indeed, it may have already overtaken France and the UK to become the world’s fifth-largest economy. And that’s why we are expanding the scope of our trading relationship and exploring how to build more ambitious trade arrangements in the future.”
Britain wanted to focus on the “win-win benefits of education helping Indians meet the aspirations of its ambitious young people”, the MP said, as he noted that applications for student visas went up by 63 per cent last year, while visitors and work visas went up by 10 per cent and two per cent respectively.
“Our new post-study work visa will enable graduates to switch to skilled work visas if they find a job. This is a positive step for India and UK relations.
“We have comprehensive strengths and we will promise them together for the good of all the people in our two great nations.”