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`India among emerging powers in 21st century'

Our Bureau

Hyderabad , Oct. 3

INDIA, China and Russia are the emerging powers in the 21st Century, according to Sir Rob Young, British High Commissioner to India.

Delivering his valedictory lecture on "India and the UK: Reflections on a Modern Partnership" at the Administrative Staff College of India here, Sir Rob said that India, with its robust democracy, burgeoning economy, international interests and global aspirations, has all the attributes to be a 21st century superpower.

He, however, said that UK failed to realise India's full potential during the cold war period. UK's relationship with India opened up in a big way after the end of the cold war. "I would see the past 10-12 years as the crucial period of our relationship". In fact 26 British Ministerial visits have taken place in the last two years. UK had also supported India's bid to become the member of the UN Security Council.

Sir Rob, who will be retiring shortly after being in the diplomatic service for 36 years, said that there was a genuine trust and confidence between UK and India at present. UK-India bilateral trade had grown by 67 per cent to 5 billion since the Indo-British Partnership (IBP) was formed in 1993. Being the fourth largest economy in terms of purchasing power parity, he said, India was becoming increasingly important in the global economic arena. With reform agenda on track, India's substantial potential makes it an attractive destination for foreign direct investment in a variety of sectors. Incidentally, UK has the third largest share of 9.8 per cent of new foreign investment approved since 1991, well ahead of Germany, Japan and France. On the whole, Indian Government had approved 1,905 new Indo-British joint ventures after the formation of IBP. There were also 450 Indian companies operating in Britain at present.

Nevertheless, he said, "working together to eradicate poverty is central to the relationship between India and UK". India was the largest recipient of UK development assistance. Britain had spent Rs 1,400 crore (180 million) last year in this regard. This figure would be increased to Rs 2,100 crore by 2004-05.

Referring to the current problems of the world, Sir Rob said major ones like terrorism and poverty, could be tackled only with collective international cooperation.

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