The Foreign Office Minister’s visit to India is the latest in a series by British government ministers, and the first by a Foreign Office Minister since Foreign Secretary William Hague, accompanied British Prime Minister David Cameron to India in July 2010. One year on, Mr Browne’s visit underlines the UK government’s strong and on-going commitment to build an enhanced partnership with India.
While in Delhi on 5 July, the Foreign Office Minister met Union Home Minister Chidambaram to discuss how to strengthen UK-India co-operation on counter-terrorism, policing and other homeland security issues. He met his Ministerial counterpart in the Ministry of External Affairs, Smt Preneet Kaur, where they discussed the key priorities in taking forward the UK-India enhanced partnership.
The Foreign Office Minister is the first from the UK’s coalition government to visit West Bengal. While in Kolkata, he will meet the Chief Minister, Ms Mamata Banerjee in order to explore how the UK and West Bengal should best deepen their economic, commercial and scientific ties. He will explore this further with local Indian and British business executives. He will also inaugurate the GOALZ programme, under which the Kolkata Police, local football clubs, the English Premier League and the British Council support disadvantaged youths through sport.
On arriving in India, he said said:
“As Minister for South Asia and for emerging powers, I am delighted to be in India. Like my Ministerial colleagues before me, I am here to make my contribution to the enhanced partnership between the UK and India that Prime Ministers Cameron and Singh set out a year ago. Much has been achieved since then, and much remains to be done. I am particularly pleased to be the first British Minister from the Coalition to visit West Bengal. Deeper economic, commercial and scientific co-operation between the UK and West Bengal is an integral part of the “stronger, wider, deeper” relationship that Prime Minister Cameron described when in India last July.”