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Bilateral Relations: India

Volume 624: debated on Tuesday 28 March 2017

The UK shares a long-standing and deep friendship with India, covering economic ties, defence and security, and people-to-people links. We want the strongest possible economic relationship with India post-Brexit. That is why my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister visited India in November—her first bilateral visit outside Europe.

I am grateful for that answer. Strong relations between our two nations should be welcomed, particularly given the potential trading opportunities, but “good relations” means talking about concerns as well as successes. What discussions has the Foreign Office had with the Indian Government on Kashmir and human rights?

My hon. Friend raises an important point. We of course remain concerned about the reports of unrest in Indian-administered Kashmir. In fact, I raised the Kashmir issue with Indian Minister of State for External Affairs Akbar during his visit to London on 16 March, and I will continue to monitor developments in this area.

This year marks the UK-India year of culture, so will the Minister set out the Government’s plans to celebrate this important event?

A range of events are coming up this year to celebrate the year of culture. The right hon. Gentleman will know that we were visited by Finance Minister Jaitley in February, showing the strength of our relationship. He visited Buckingham Palace, where Her Majesty the Queen hosted an event celebrating the year of culture.