Clegg hails India cultural links

Nick Clegg and Indian prime minister Narendra Modi have held talks on trade, climate change and education.

Nick Clegg at the Bangla Sahib Gurudwara or Sikh temple in New Delhi, India. (AP)
Nick Clegg at the Bangla Sahib Gurudwara or Sikh temple in New Delhi, India. (AP)

The Deputy Prime Minister met Mr Modi at his official residence, the Panchavati in New Delhi, for the discussions about links between the two countries.

The Liberal Democrat leader, who is in India with a 40-strong trade delegation, discussed the prospect of bringing leading teachers from the UK's top institutions to teach in India.

Another idea the pair considered was the possibility of British experts helping to clean the Ganges, drawing on efforts to improve the water quality in the Thames.

Senior Government figures have made a series of trips to India since the coalition came to power in 2010 in an effort to create a new "special relationship" and strengthen trade with the emerging economic powerhouse.

Chancellor George Osborne and then-foreign secretary William Hague visited in July, while David Cameron has made three trips to India as Prime Minister.

The Deputy Prime Minister said: " Prime minister Modi has been very clear that his absolute priority is to get the wheels of the Indian economy moving, to create more jobs, boost trade and pursue greater prosperity.

"There is already £16 billion of trade every year between India and the UK. India invests more in the UK than it does in the rest of the European Union combined, and no country in the G20 invests more in India than Britain does.

"In addition, there are the historic cultural links. The rich tapestry of British community, business, cultural and sporting life is hugely enriched by our links with India.

"Thousands of students take part in exchange programmes such as the UK-India Education and Research Initiative, and I look forward to seeing how we can forge even deeper and stronger bonds between our people."

The delegation, including Mr Clegg's new unpaid India business adviser Lord Dholakia, will also travel to Mumbai and Bangalore on the three-day visit.