Speech

PM statement following bilateral talks with Prime Minister Modi: 7 November 2016

Theresa May held a press conference with Prime Minister Narendra Modi In Delhi as part of her trade mission and bilateral talks in India.

UK PM in India

Prime Ministers’ statements

Thank you, Prime Minister Modi, for welcoming me to Delhi today.

I wanted to come to India on my first bilateral visit outside Europe because this relationship matters more than ever.

India is a leading power in the world – the largest democracy, the fastest growing major economy, the second largest contributor to UN peacekeeping operations.

A country that we would like to see take a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council.

And a natural partner for Britain.

We want to work with India for our shared prosperity, our shared security and as a force for good in the world.

Today, Prime Minister Modi and I have discussed how we can strengthen co-operation in all these areas.

Shared prosperity

First, our shared prosperity.

As leaders, we are both working to improve the livelihoods of our citizens – creating jobs, developing skills, investing in infrastructure and supporting the technologies of the future.

That creates opportunities for British businesses and investors here in India. And vice versa.

Take your vision of smart cities - today we have agreed a new partnership that will bring together government, investors and experts to work together on urban development, unlocking opportunities worth £2 billion for British businesses over the next 5 years.

This will focus on the dynamic state of Madhya Pradesh – with plans for more smart cities than anywhere else – and the historic city of Varanasi.

Take the capital that’s required for India’s infrastructure – since the launch of the first masala bond in London in July rupee-denominated bonds worth over £900 million have now been issued.

And we expect a further 4 bonds with a total value of £600 million to be issued in the next 3 months.

This is a vote of confidence in India’s growth story. And it’s a vote of confidence in London as the world’s leading financial centre.

Alongside this, the UK has agreed to invest £120 million in a joint fund that will lever private sector investment from the City of London to finance Indian infrastructure.

So the potential to expand the commercial opportunities for both our countries is huge. On this visit alone, more than £1 billion of business deals will be signed.

But there’s much more we can do.

Trade and export

We are both firm supporters of free trade. We both want to be great exporting nations.

And so we should work together, for the long haul, to break down the barriers to trade and investment.

Here today, we have agreed a new programme of co-operation to strengthen the protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights, which provides greater certainty for business.

And the UK will share technical expertise on issues such as deregulation and tax to help make India an easier place to do business.

Visas

We have also agreed to establish structured talks at officials level to identify what more we can do now, before the UK leaves the EU, to remove barriers to business. And this will pave the way for securing a deeper trade and investment relationship once the UK has left.

Prime Minister Modi and I have also discussed how we can improve business travel for Indian visitors to the UK.

The UK will make India the first visa country to have access to our registered traveller scheme, offering many Indians smoother and swifter clearance at the border.

And we have invited the Indian Government to become the first government in the world to nominate top business executives for the Great Club – our bespoke visa and immigration service.

We have also agreed to establish a strategic dialogue on home affairs issues covering visas, returns, and organised crime.

As part of this, the UK will consider further improvements to our visa offer if at the same time we can step up the speed and volume of returns of Indians with no right to remain in the UK.

And the UK will continue to welcome the brightest and best Indian students, with the latest figures showing that 9 out of 10 applications are granted.

Security

Turning to security issues.

Last year, we agreed to establish an ambitious defence and international security partnership.

We stand firmly behind that commitment. But now we need to translate that political will into results.

The UK is ready to support the development of India’s defence capabilities through ‘Make in India’ with technology transfer and by jointly promoting our defence equipment in other markets.

Next week, our top defence officials will meet here in Delhi. We have tasked them with making progress on military training, collaboration on technology and equipment; and joint research on new capabilities.

We are also committed to helping each other respond to new and emerging threats.

As 2 countries that are at the forefront of digital innovation, we both know the huge opportunities that technology presents for our economies, but it can also pose a risk.

Both the UK and India face an increasing threat of cyber attack from other states, terrorists and criminals operating in cyberspace.

We are already working together to tackle the shared threat of cyber crime.

And today, Prime Minister Modi and I have agreed to step up our co-operation, by negotiating a cyber framework between our countries which would improve our mutual cyber security, promote a free and open secure cyberspace, and unlock commercial opportunities for UK industry.

Finally, we both face a shared threat of terrorism – as individual countries, as partners, and as global powers whose interests lie in a stable world, founded on the rules based international system.

Today, we have agreed to strengthen our co-operation, in particular by sharing best practice to tackle the use of the internet by violent extremists and to reduce radicalisation and recruitment attempts online.

Conclusion

These have been good, productive talks.

As I said this morning, when 2 countries have as long a relationship as India and the United Kingdom, it is tempting to take for granted the links that we have.

I don’t want to do that. I want to look to the future and the limitless possibilities as we forge a stronger, strategic partnership.

The UK and India are 2 countries with an ambitious, confident, global outlook.

As the UK leaves the EU and India continues its rise in the world, we should seize the opportunities ahead.

We will achieve this through the strong bonds that exist between our people, through British and Indian businesses working together, but most of all we will accomplish this because Prime Minister Modi and I are personally committed to investing in this relationship and turning this vision into a reality.

I look forward to establishing a unique friendship and working together for the benefit of both our countries.

Our shared connections and our shared values make this a natural partnership, but it is our shared future which will bring us closer still.

Find out the latest updates on the Prime Minister’s India visit.

Published 7 November 2016