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India: Diplomatic Service

Volume 459: debated on Thursday 3 May 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) how much ground rent is paid annually by the Indian Government for its high commission at 9 Kensington Gardens, London; and how much was paid for the current lease on the building; (135231)

(2) when the decision was made to make rent payable on the Indian high commission at 9 Kensington Gardens, London; for what reasons it was decided to levy a rental charge on the building; and if she will make a statement.

The Indian high commissioner’s residence, at 9 Kensington Palace Gardens, is leased by the Indian Government from the Crown Estate; the Foreign and Commonwealth Office is not involved.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) what reports she has received of the decision of the Indian Government to charge rent to the British high commission in India at 2 Rajaji Marg, Delhi; and if she will make a statement; (135233)

(2) how much the Government are expected to pay the Indian Government in annual rent for the British high commission in India at 2 Rajaji Marg, Delhi;

(3) what representations she has made to the Indian Government on the rent payable on the British high commission in India; and if she will make a statement.

The Government have paid rent on 2 Rajaji Marg, the high commissioner’s residence in New Delhi, since independence in 1947. At present, we are in negotiation with the Indian authorities on renewal of the lease, which we hope will be concluded shortly. I am sure the hon. Member will understand that I cannot go into precise details without jeopardising our negotiating position.