The Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh and the British Prime Minister, the Rt. Hon. Tony Blair, MP, today signed a joint declaration, in which they set out plans to strengthen and deepen the bilateral relationship between the two countries through a comprehensive strategic partnership.
Following is the text of the declaration:
"We, the Prime Ministers of India and the UK, believe that the relationship between our two countries is now the strongest it has ever been. Building on the achievements of the 2002 New Delhi Declaration, we commit ourselves and our Governments to strengthening and deepening the comprehensive partnership that exists between our countries – to benefit our peoples, and to create a safer and more prosperous world.
People are at the heart of our relationship. Almost 1.5 million people of Indian origin live in Britain today. Their cultural values contribute significantly towards making Britain the vibrant, dynamic society that it is today. They are a vital bond between our countries.
Both our societies value, and encourage, cultural and ethnic diversity.
Both our countries have a long and proud historical tradition, and yet are countries looking forward, adapting to the challenges, and trying to shape the outcome of the 21st century.
The flow of people between our countries is huge. 500,000 Indians visit Britain each year. 400,000 Britons visit India. These people-to-people links flourish in many areas – education, health, development, science and technology, including in the frontier technologies, investment, trade and tourism.
India and the UK are natural economic partners. As India emerges as a global power, trade and investment relations are becoming more diverse. Bilateral trade grew by over 20% last year. We want this rapid growth to continue. But the real partnership lies in the strength of investment in both directions. The UK is the second largest investor into India. India was the 8th largest investor in the UK in 2003. It is one of the fastest growing, investing in the UK’s knowledge economy. The UK provides an important bridge into the European market, attracting over 60% of India’s investment in Europe.
Shared democratic values and a commitment to human rights, justice and the rule of law underpin our relationship. We share a global vision of peace, security and shared prosperity, based on sustainable development. We have shared interests in combating key global challenges – terrorism, poverty, HIV/AIDS, environmental degradation, climate change, drugs, international crime, illegal migration and trafficking in people. We will step up our bilateral co-operation on these issues.
However, we must also urgently strengthen the multilateral system to meet these global challenges. We will co-operate closely on this and the UK will continue to work for India’s Permanent Membership of the UN Security Council.
We can achieve even more together than we already do. We now intend to take our relationship to a new level. We see the relationship between our two countries as among our top international priorities. As Heads of Government, we will work for a long-term comprehensive streategic partnership for the 21st century of shared values and interests. In particular we will strengthen our links in the following areas.
Foreign and Defence Policy
Heads of Government and foreign ministers will exchange visits annually to reinforce and extend our bilateral co-operation in the fields we have identified for joint action.
We will reinforce our strategic partnership, and enhance our defence co-operation, in the pursuit of a more peaceful and secure world. We will build upon, and expand, programmes of joint military training and exercises. We will explore the co-production of defence equipment. We will work towards the objective of non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and the means of their delivery.
Both our countries are deeply committed to combating terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. We will work together to try to ensure that the global norms against terrorism are upheld by all countries. We will share our experience and augment our co-operation, including operational co-operation between police, law enforcement agencies and others in our criminal justice system. We will enhance our co-operation to counter money laundering and terrorist financing.
The UK will support India to join the Financial Action Task Force. We will identify specific needs and share best practice in the areas of justice, judicial co-operation and mutual legal assistance. We will co-operate in the light against international, organised and serious crime and new forms of criminality, including illegal migration, drugs trafficking and trafficking in people.
Economic and Trade Issues
Our economic ties will continue to expand. We will establish a Ministerially-led Joint Economic and Trade Committee to further develop a strategic economic relationship, and develop business-led vehicles to enhance bilateral trade and investment in specific sectors including services and knowledge-based industries. We will enhance our dialogue on international trade and investment issues.
We will also establish an Indo-British Economic and Financial Dialogue on bilateral and global issues, on financial systems, and to enhance economic and financial co-operation.
At this important time in the development of the international trade regime, we will work closely together for a successful conclusion to the WTO’s Doha Round of multilateral trade negotiations.
The UK and India agree to expand co-operation in the fields of civilian nuclear activities, civilian space programmes, and high technology trade, in accordance with their international obligations.
Science and Technology
The UK and India already co-operate closely on science and technology. We have established a Joint Committee on Science and Technology and a networking scheme that enables scientists to meet each other, exchange research ideas and establish links. We will now enhance existing collaboration and identify new areas for co-operation in fields such as: climate change, alternative and clean energy technologies, environmental science, commercial applications of high technology like biotech and bio-informatics, nano-technology, agriculture, and health research and development. We will encourage collaborative opportunities in these areas.
We have an important development partnership. The UK is recognised as a leader in international development. India has made great development progress over the last two decades and is now establishing itself as a development partner for other developing countries. Our shared commitment to the UN Millennium Development Goals provides an opportunity to exchange experience on aid effectiveness and development practices. Working together, we can accelerate development and make progress globally towards the Millennium Goals.
Both our countries recognize that co-operation is essential to deliver the progressive global agenda set by the Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development and the Millennium Declaration. We will initiate regular high-level dialogue to share experiences on how we can overcome social, economic and environmental challenges, and bring real quality of life improvements for people in both our countries and around the world.
Climate change and broader issues of sustainable energy security are high on our respective agendas. Climate change will be a central theme of the UK’s Presidencies of the G8 and EU next year. We will promote effective co-operation in our responses to climate change, including by building on the successful joint work that has already been carried out by the UK and India on climate change impacts and modelling. To this end, we will establish a structured dialogue to exchange views and information and take forward any bilateral co-operation projects.
Education and Culture
There are strong and vibrant academic links between the UK and India. By 2008, we expect that 25,000 students from the UK and India will be studying in each other’s academic institutions. We will explore ways to help educational establishments in our countries to establish lasting partnerships.
The cultural influence of the UK, not least through the use of English, has added to the richness of Indian culture, and Indian writers have enriched English literature. Now, through the community of Indian origin in the UK, and directly, Indian culture is becoming an important component of multi-ethnic Britain. We welcome this and will work to strengthen cultural linkages between our countries, including in areas like publishing and film production.
On this historic occasion we reaffirm our commitment to strengthen our comprehensive strategic partnership for the benefit of both our peoples and the international community based on universal values of democracy and respect for the rule of law, human rights and fundamental freedoms. We stress our commitment to work towards promoting international peace, stability and security and the eradication of poverty. We recognize that a strengthened multilateral system, including a reformed Security Council that would reflect the changing aspirations of the 21st century, is an important element of this process. In recognition of our comprehensive strategic partnership we will hold annual summit meetings alternating in our capitals and will continue the high level dialogue established through our Personal Envoys."