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Volume 582: debated on Tuesday 17 June 2014

The Chancellor and I will visit India shortly to meet the new Government. Our priorities will be to expand trade and investment, enhance our education links, strengthen co-operation on defence and security, increase collaboration on science and innovation, and build our people-to-people links through the UK’s 1.5 million Indian diaspora.

Will the Foreign Secretary prioritise speaking with the Indian authorities about the case of the ex-soldier Ray Tindall from Hull who, while working on a US pirate patrol vessel, was arrested for straying into Indian waters? As I understand it, the court case has been constantly adjourned. His family are desperate to find out when he will be returned to the UK.

We are constantly raising this issue. I have done so myself and the Minister of State, my right hon. Friend the Member for East Devon (Mr Swire), does so regularly. If it is not concluded, it will, of course, be a topic of conversation during my visit to India shortly. We hope that the court proceedings—the latest of which was, I think, scheduled for today—will be resolved soon. We must not prejudge what will happen in a court, but we will absolutely keep on top of this case.

Despite the concerns of some about Prime Minister Modi’s nationalist past, his record of delivering economic growth in Gujarat is undeniable—and is, indeed, in no small part the reason why he was elected in the hope that he could replicate that across India—but such rapid development must be sustainable. The Foreign Secretary did not mention climate change in his list of things he intended to discuss with the Indian Government. What can the UK do to encourage India to play a full and constructive role in forthcoming international climate talks?

The hon. Lady is right about the prospect of great economic progress. We do give great importance to trade and investment with India, and we are making good progress towards doubling bilateral trade by 2015, but she is also right that climate change is a very important issue. Our relationship with India is such that we need to discuss all global issues together, and that absolutely will include climate change. India will have a big role to play over the next 18 months in crucial climate change negotiations, so that will be on the agenda for our visit as well.