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Hague and Osborne visit Indian PM

Foreign Secretary William Hague and Chancellor George Osborne will today set out to forge links with the new Indian government of prime minister Narendra Modi as they seek to strengthen Britain's trade with the powerhouse Asian economy.

The two Cabinet ministers are embarking on a two-day visit to India during which they will meet with key players in the administration in New Delhi - including Mr Modi - as well as leading business figures.

They are following in the footsteps of a series of foreign visitors - including the French foreign minister and the Russian deputy prime minister - who have arrived to pay court to the new premier since his landslide election victory in May.

Fears that the ascent to power of Mr Modi - a hardline Hindu nationalist - would trigger a new outbreak of communal violence in India have so far proved unfounded.

Instead Mr Osborne will use a speech to business leaders in Mumbai to hail the turn-around in views about the prospects for the Indian economy since his election.

"It's great to be here at a time when the excitement about the Indian economy, and the optimism about the prospects for future growth, are palpable. And the excitement here is matched by new confidence among international investors abroad in the future of the Indian economy," the Chancellor is expected to say.

"It is a measure of the ambition and drive and pace of the new government of prime minister Modi, that this complete turn-around in sentiment about the Indian economy has been achieved in just seven short weeks, since that stunning election victory."

Speaking at the same event, Mr Hague will say the Anglo-Indian relationship stands out for "its depth and its future prospects".

"As our Prime Minister said on his third trip to India last year - this can be a special partnership, one that connects our dynamic economies to create jobs, growth and prosperity but that also reaches much further, that builds even stronger ties between our societies and that helps us work more closely together on the world stage," he will say.

"We are here this week because your new government's bold programme of change creates new opportunities to realise that vision."

Ahead of his speech, Mr Osborne will visit the automotive giant Mahindra, which is investing £20 million in new research and development facilities at Farnham and Donington for the next generation of their electric vehicles.

The Chancellor will also announce that Indian pharmaceutical company Cipla is to invest up to £100 million in the UK.


From Belfast Telegraph