India, Britain sign nine agreements, announce initiatives

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London, April 18 (IANS) India and Britain on Wednesday signed a number of agreements and announced initiatives, including in the areas of technology, trade and investment, during the course of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit here.

The two sides signed a framework agreement for the UK-India Cyber Relationship, committing to a free, open, peaceful and secure cyberspace; and cooperation in exchange of information and strategies for effective cyber security incident management and threat response.

An MoU on cooperation and exchange of information for the purposes of combating international criminality and tackling serious organised crime, to establish a mechanism for the exchange of criminal records, immigration records and intelligence, was also signed.

On rejuvenation of river Ganga, an MoU has been signed between the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) and Natural Environmental Research Council (NERC), UK.

The MoU will enable Britain to support the Indian government in sustainable management of water resources in the Ganga basin through collaborative programmes of research and innovation and exchange of policy experts with the support of UK Water Partnership.

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Another MoU seeks to strengthen institutional cooperation in the field of sustainable urban development, to include business engagement, programme and project design, access to finance, knowledge exchange and research and innovation, to build on existing cooperation on the Smart Cities Mission.

An MoU has been signed on skill development, vocational education and training to promote collaboration and capacity-building.

In the area of regulation of safe nuclear energy use for peaceful purposes, an arrangement has been arrived at between Atomic Energy Regulatory Board of India (AERB) and the Office for Nuclear Regulation of Great Britain (ONR).

A statement of intent between India’s NITI Aayog and Britain’s Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has been signed which will enable the two sides to explore potential for regular engagement on technology cooperation in areas such as electric vehicles, artificial intelligence (AI), fintech, and advanced manufacturing, as well as utilising AI, big data and analytics capability for evidence-based policy making.

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Another MoU was signed to enhance cooperation on livestock husbandry, fisheries and agro-forestry.

An addendum covering research in humanities and social sciences has been added to the 2004 Newton-Bhabha MoU, which supports research and innovation capacities of both sides for long-term sustainable growth.

A non-governmental MoU was also signed between the All India Institute of Ayurveda (AIIA) and College of Medicine to set up a centre of excellence in ayurveda and traditional Indian medicine.

In terms of technological alliance, India’s Nasscom and Britain’s TechUK have set up a Tech CEO Alliance which will bring together 10 CEOs from five British and five Indian major tech firms for industry-to-industry dialogue on digital skills, future business growth and collective challenges and opportunities.

To promote trade, investment and finance, India and Britain launched the Green Growth Equity Fund (GGEF) that will leverage City finance to invest in India’s growth, announcing Eversource Capital, a joint venture between Lightsource BP and Everstone Group, as the Green Growth Equity Fund Manager.

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An initial investment of 240 million pounds from both governments will catalyse additional City finance for green projects in India and UK companies will be able to bid for infrastructure projects financed by the Fund.

The Fund will invest in renewable energy, clean transportation, water and waste management in India as part of India’s flagship National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF).

India and Britain also announced a Dialogue on Investment to improve mutual understanding of priorities and review future opportunities for cooperation.

Earlier in the day, Modi and his British counterpart Theresa May held a bilateral meeting during which they discussed a wide range of issues, including the bilateral relationship after Britain’s exit from the European Union.

The Indian leader arrived here on Monday from Sweden on the second leg of his three-nation tour of Europe which will also see him going to Germany.

Modi will attend this year’s Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) on April 19-20.

–IANS

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