British PM arrives on 3-day visit: India one of UK’s closest friends, says Theresa Mayhttps://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/british-pm-theresa-may-india-visit-india-uks-closest-friend-3740736/

British PM arrives on 3-day visit: India one of UK’s closest friends, says Theresa May

We are two countries with strong ties, a mature relationship and an opportunity to make that even deeper.

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British PM Theresa May on her arrival at Delhi airport on Sunday night. (Source: Reuters)

INDIA WILL raise the issues of decline in the volume of trade and the number of Indian students studying in the UK universities in the wake of Brexit when Prime Minister Narendra Modi meets visiting British Prime Minister Theresa May here on Monday.

May, who arrived in New Delhi late Sunday night, is scheduled to attend the India-UK Technology Summit and also meet Modi and President Pranab Mukherjee on Monday. Under the umbrella of India-UK Technology Summit, four other summits are being organised — on Higher Education, Innovation & Entrepreneurship, Design and Intellectual Property Rights.

WATCH VIDEO: Find Out What PM Narendra Modi & British Prime Minister Theresa May Discussed

Ahead of her visit, May said India is one of the UK’s “most important and closest” friends and a leading power in the world, and her visit will bolster bilateral strategic ties in areas like defence, security and trade.

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An article published in the Sunday Telegraph quoted her as saying that she plans to “promote the best of Britain” during her three-day trade mission to New Delhi and Bengaluru.

She said that “one of our most important and closest friends has to be India —a leading power in the world, with whom we share so much history, culture and so may values, and which is led by a Prime Minister who is undertaking a far-reaching programme of reform.”

“In other words, we are two countries with strong ties, a mature relationship and an opportunity to make that even deeper. That is why, today I will be travelling to India for my first bilateral visit outside Europe and first trade mission as Prime Minister, accompanied by a range of top British businesses, including some of our brightest small and medium enterprises,” she said.

The British PM, who will seek concrete steps to take the partnership forward during the meeting, said, “I will be using this visit to reaffirm the importance of the strategic partnership we already have, which delivers huge benefits for both our countries, and to work with Prime Minister Modi to agree to concrete steps to realise our shared vision of going even further in our cooperation across trade, investment, defence and security.”

“Building 100 new ‘Smart Cities’, encouraging firms to ‘Make in India’, getting the country online with ‘Digital India’, delivering better healthcare, infrastructure, skills and finance — these form Prime Minister Modi’s vision, and with our world-class architects, lawyers, financiers, engineers, medics, academics and tech experts, Britain is the ideal partner to help achieve that…,” she said.

Sources in Delhi said India is expected to raise the issue of the dramatic decline in the number of Indian students in the UK universities. “We expect mobility issues to be raised during the visit,” Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Vikas Swarup had said on Thursday, when asked whether the issue of Indian students will be taken up during the talks between Modi and May.

“Yes, it is true that in the last five years or so, the number of Indian students enrolling in UK universities have gone down by almost 50 per cent; from around 40,000 to about 20,000 now. This has happened because of restrictions on post-study stay in the UK,” he had said.

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