Friday, January 27, 2012

Time for India

  William Hague Inaugurates India Institute, King’s College
Following are the key points of a speech by British Foreign Minister William Hague
at the inauguration of India Institute at King’s College London yesterday (26 January).
  • It is a promising moment for King’s College to open an Institute devoted to promoting intellectual and practical engagement with contemporary India.  For this century will be shaped by India more than any other that has come before it.  Now is the time to study India, to invest in India and to work with India. India is making its mark on the global economy with electrifying skill, innovation and dynamism… It is leading the way in the development of renewable energy and green technologies.
  • I was delighted to be able to join the Prime Minister on his trip to India soon after we took office. There was a tangible sense of optimism in the air. There can be few other countries anywhere in the world that are as genuinely optimistic and positive about India’s success as we are here in Britain.
  • We came into Government seeking a new Special Relationship with India. We see enormous value in the ties between our countries; in our shared values, the living bonds between our citizens, our membership of the Commonwealth and the complementary nature of our economies. We want a relationship between India and Britain that is stronger, wider, and deeper.
  • Our Prime Ministers are in regular contact, seven British cabinet Ministers have visited India since May 2010, and I hope to visit again this year. We are increasing our frontline staff in India by thirty officers. We have ambitious plans to open up to eight new British Trade Offices around the country, as part of a strategy to widen our focus beyond Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata and Bangalore. And we plan to open new Deputy High Commissions in some of India’s other fast-growing cities.
  • Foreign Policy rests on a web of connections between individuals, families, civil society, companies, and academic institutions like your own. We have to have the deepest possible understanding of India’s culture, its history and politics, its rich traditions and its complex geography. This is why I have launched a new Foreign Office programme called Diplomatic Excellence, designed to foster and retain deep cultural knowledge and understanding of other nations among our diplomats, including their language skills. It includes the formation of a new cadre dealing with India and a new diplomatic training programme to deepen our expertise in contemporary India.
  • We want to be India’s partner of choice in a whole range of areas as it develops its economy, supporting jobs creation and growth in both our countries. We have set the target of doubling our trade with India by 2015 compared to 2010 and are making good progress: our exports were up more than 40% last year and India is now our third largest market outside the EU. We are a springboard into the European Single Market and the leading advocate of EU Free Trade Agreements, including that with India which we hope to see concluded this year.
  • The fact that so many people of other nationalities find the allure of British universities irresistible is a great asset to our nation. It contributes to our economy, to our reputation as an open society and to our cultural influence in the world. Today British universities are developing closer ties with many first class institutions in India, and are champing at the bit to set up in India themselves once changes to Indian legislation permits them to do so. Through the British Council and their Project English Initiative, and with support from Department for International Development, we have reached 17million learners and are helping train one million English teachers across India.
  • We have refocused our long-standing development relationship to focus on attracting pro-poor private investment into the poorest states, on women and girls; and on laying the foundations for an enduring partnership on global issues.
  • We want the brightest and the best to come to Britain. We are clear that if you want to come to Britain legitimately as a student, a business person or a visitor, then you are very welcome in the UK.
  • We also want to see India represented at the top table of international decision-making, working more closely with us and other nations to address global issues. That is why we support reform of the UN Security Council and a permanent seat for India.  It is playing an increasingly important role in the affairs of the world. It enriches our shared culture in innumerable ways – from the prize-winning novels of Aravind Adiga to the sporting prowess of Sachin Tendulkar.
  • It is a great pleasure, on India’s Republic Day and the 62nd anniversary of the signing of its Constitution, to express my sense of optimism and excitement about our relations with India and all that lies ahead for the citizens of both our countries, and the firm commitment of Her Majesty’s Government to even closer ties in the years to come and indeed we can hope throughout this century, which is very much India’s to shape.

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