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Modi holds talks with Cameron, eyes more British investment

Prime Minister Narendra Modi today held talks with his UK counterpart David Cameron on as he eyes more British investment to India on his maiden visit during which a “package of deliverables” worth billions of pounds in defence and energy sectors was expected be signed.

Modi, who flew into the British capital on his much- anticipated three-day visit, was accorded a guard of honour by the 48-member F Company Scots guard accompanied by the regimental band of Irish guards.

Cameron came out from his 10 Downing Street to receive Modi before the two leaders headed to the world’s most famous political office for a nearly 90-minute dialogue.

The UK had earlier said there will be a “package of deliverables” announced during Modi’s visit. The commercial and private sector deals rather than government to government deals are said to be worth billions of pounds.

Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond had narrowed down defence and civil nuclear as an area of focus during the visit and also confirmed that the Make in India aspect of the Hawk trainers will be on the cards.

Hammond and Defence Secretary Michael Fallon were among senior British Cabinet ministers present during the guard of honour at the Treasury Drum near 10 Downing Street. On the Indian side, Modi was accompanied by a delegation including Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar and Indian High Commissioner to the UK Ranjan Mathai.

Ahead of his departure, he had tweeted: “Leaving for UK. I am hopeful this visit will strengthen economic ties between India and UK & bring more investment to India. #makeinindia.”

A brief stop to pay tributes at the Mahatma Gandhi statue in Parliament Square will be followed by speeches at the Houses of Parliament and then at the Guildhall in the financial hub of London.

His talks with Cameron will carry on at the British Prime Minister’s country residence of Chequers in Buckinghamshire, where he is being hosted overnight.

Ahead of Modi’s visit, Jaishankar had said that both sides are likely to sign a number of agreements, including on energy and climate change.

He had said that boosting economic ties will be a major focus area, besides enhancing ties in defence and clean energy sector.