London: Prime Minister Gordon Brown will embark on a two-day visit to India from Sunday with an avowed objective to upgrade Britain’s relations with the emerging Asian giant to bring them on par with its ties with the US.
“He wants to really upgrade Britain’s relations with India and China to a much higher level, the same as the USA,” Lord Swraj Paul, who will be part of the India-leg of his two-nation tour, said on Wednesday.
Brown, who has pledged to accord “very high priority” to strengthening and deepening relations with a “pulsating, dynamic India,” leaves for China on Thursday en route to New Delhi, his first visit as Prime Minister to the country after taking over from Tony Blair in June last year.
The British Prime Minister, son of a Church of Scotland preacher and a known India admirer, recognises India’s status and feels that by raising Britain’s relations to a higher level “all countries can gain” and help the world.
Paul, who along with other NRI peers, MPs and Indian community leaders had a meeting with Prime Minister at number 10, Downing Street on Tuesday, said Brown is “very keen to involve all countries in the fight against poverty and in India even more so as there is still a large chunk of the population which is still below the poverty line.”
Brown, who will attend the fourth India-UK Summit, would discuss with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh ways to “come even closer” and step up trade and investment between the two countries, Paul, who is also British ambassador for overseas business, said.
Climate change, education, technology transfer were among other issues that would figure prominently during their parleys, Paul said, adding that Brown was “very excited” about the visit.
Describing the 56-year-old British premier as a “very simple man,” Paul said “he is committed to his work and he enjoys his work”.
“Removal of poverty and higher education for all are his priorities. He is a man who likes all sorts of talents around him and that is why he brought professionals into his government with great experience instead of mere professional politicians. He believes in the ability of young people and that is why his government has one of the lowest average ages.
“Brown is a man of highest integrity who wants to talk less and do more,” Paul said and claimed that the labour leader will prove to be the best Prime Minister Britain has had.
“He is a deliverer not a talker and unfortunately some time in politics people don’t appreciate that in the first round. Eventually they do and I am sure that will happen.
About Sarah Brown, Lord Paul said “She is a source of great strength to him. She gets on with her work without any fanfare and she is one of the simplest ‘first lady´ I have known.”
Paul said both of them would value their visit to India. “Both are family people. They enjoy and love their children who are a source of great happiness to them. As a matter of fact, the thing they really miss abroad will be their children who will stay behind in the UK.”