UK keen on participating in ‘smart city’ project

NEW DELHI: The UK on Friday expressed its keeness to actively participate in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ambitious project to develop smart cities across India.

“Prime Minister Modi is deeply ambitious and we want him to be successful when it comes to the delivery of smart cities. And we know we have the assistance and expertise to really add value,” UK International Development Secretary Priti Patel said here.

“So meeting the challenges of urabanisation, getting India ready for the bigger picture, the preparedness and responses is absolutely crucial. So bringing expertise is one aspect to that,” she said at function.

Earlier in the day, she met with Urban Development Minister Venkaiah Naidu and announced the UK will share its skills and expertise to drive forward India’s vision for new smart cities and boost opportunities for new businesses.

Stressing that the UK and India share unique relationship, Patel said the referendum in the UK has “now redefined” the relationship and “elevated it in terms of our place in the world.

“…development opportunities between the UK and India and also India and the rest of the world are absolutely enormous,” she said terming India as a “growing and thriving economic power house”.

She said counter terrorism and national security are the areas where “we stand shoulder to shoulder with India”.

During her three-day India visit, she will call on Modi and several ministers. She will also meet the UK and Indian business, industry and investment representatives. She will call on the Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister in Bhopal.

She also called on Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to discuss ways in which the two governments can strengthen links between key economic institutions and centers of excellence in the two countries.

The two ministers also discussed the transformed UK-India development partnership which was underlined by Modi’s UK visit late last year.

An official statement said the UK support announced by Patel will come from the UK’s Department for International Development and includes technical support for ‘Smart Cities Mission’ which will see British expertise helping plan, design and build smart cities