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India, Britain to ramp up ties, discuss Afghanistan

New Delhi,Nov 7: (India and Britain will hold talks Thursday to scale up economic ties and expand cooperation in diverse areas, including civil nuclear energy, defence, counter-terrorism and cyber security. External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid
IANS November 07, 2012 19:06 IST
IANS
New Delhi,Nov 7: (India and Britain will hold talks Thursday to scale up economic ties and expand cooperation in diverse areas, including civil nuclear energy, defence, counter-terrorism and cyber security.



External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid will lead the Indian delegation that will hold discussions with British Foreign Secretary William Hague and his team on a gamut of bilateral and global issues.

Hague, who arrived here Wednesday on a three-day visit, will also meet Finance Minister P. Chidambaram and National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon, the British High Commission here said in a press release.

The statement from the high commission read: “The foreign minister will reinforce the UK government's commitment to developing a strong, mutually beneficial and wide ranging partnership with India.”

This partnership encompasses “diverse areas such as trade and investment, education, research, civil nuclear, climate change, counter terrorism, cyber security, defence and reform of international institutions”, the statement said.

Hague is expected to update his counterpart on the rationale behind Britain's plan to slash its 280 million pounds per annum aid to India by half, amid mounting domestic criticism that its overseas assistance was not justified in times of downturn.

Besides discussing steps to ramp up trade and investment, Khurshid and Hague will also discuss the ongoing flux in Afghanistan and the prospects of cooperation in the run-up to the withdrawal of international combat troops by 2014, said informed sources.