Prime minister David Cameron said British and Indian companies will announce deals worth a total of £9 billion during his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi’s visit to Britain.
Cameron made the announcement at a joint press conference with Modi at Downing Street, saying that new rupee-denominated bonds would also allow Indian companies to issue debt in London.
“During this visit, British and Indian companies are announcing new collaborations together worth more than £9 billion,” Cameron said.
“We want to forge a more ambitious, modern partnership,” he added, noting that India has more investments in Britain than in the rest of the European Union combined.
Cameron unveiled plans for £1bn of rupee-denominated bonds to be traded in London, saying that he wanted Britain to become India’s “number one partner” for raising finance.
Asked about an upcoming referendum on Britain’s European Union membership, Modi said: “As far as India is concerned, if there is an entry point to the European Union, that is the UK”.
Earlier, Cameron came out from 10 Downing Street to receive Modi before the Indian leader was accorded a guard of honour by the 48-member F Company Scots guard accompanied by the regimental band of Irish guards at the Treasury Drum near 10 Downing Street.
Foreign secretary Philip Hammond and defence secretary Michael Fallon were among senior British cabinet ministers present during the guard of honour. Modi was accompanied by a delegation including foreign secretary S Jaishankar and Indian high commissioner to the UK Ranjan Mathai.
Cameron’s office also released a video on social media about the 1.5 million-strong Indian community to welcome Modi on his maiden visit to the country.
“Welcome prime minister (Modi). We are so pleased you have come to visit,” said one community member in the beginning of the video uploaded on Cameron’s official Twitter account.
“You will see how important our relationship is with India. There are more than half a million Indian-origin people in the UK… British Indian help make this country great,” according to the video in which members of the Indian community from all walks of life are seen welcoming Modi in the country.
Responding to the post, Modi tweeted: “Thank you @Number10gov. We are very proud of the Indian diaspora in UK. Their role in strengthening India-UK ties is immense.”