Lauding the strides made by India in the fields of economy, science and technology, a British minister has said his government's effort now is not how to stop Indians coming over to Britain, but how to prevent talented, educated graduates of Indian origin leaving the UK to work in their homeland.
"I get asked, how many more people will come to this country? I say, as many as we need to face up to the future challenges of the UK economy," Britain's Minister for Immigration and Asylum Tony McNulty said in London at a reception hosted by the Labour Friends of India.
At the reception 35 of Tony Blair's ministerial team committed to engage with India, with Home Secretary Charles Clarke, praising, in an unprecedented manner, the need to work in close partnership for the security and prosperity of the people of India and Britain.
The Indian High Commissioner to the UK, Kamalesh Sharma said, "all Indians should regard themselves as ambassadors" and contribute in building a bridge between the two countries."
In his keynote address, Clarke said, "It is important to ensure that a modern and true image of India is portrayed to the younger generations."
Referring to the partnership in science and technology between India and the UK, Lord Sainsbury, Minister for Science and Innovation said, " UK and India have a common agreement regarding sustainable economic development, the importance of which is recognised by both countries, and is paramount as this will in turn raise the quality of lives in both countries."
Stephen Pound MP and chairman of Labour Friends of India, in his opening remarks reminded the 200-strong audience comprising Labour MPs, peers, members of the European Parliament, councilors and other prominent persons of "the immediacy with which Britain has to decide to either compete or collaborate with India."
Prominent among those present at the function included Lord Swraj Paul, NRI industrialist, Peter Hain, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland and Wales among others.
Nigel Griffiths, MP and deputy leader of the House of Commons spoke about his time as a Department of Trade and Industry Minister in which he learned first hand the potential that India holds for the prosperity of Britain.
"I pay tribute to the achievements of your democracy and economy, we know of the immense success that you are enjoying in India and state that Britain wants to work with you and for this reason we welcome you to our shores."
Geoff Hoon, MP and leader of the House of Commons said, "The political connection between India and the UK runs deep and stands stronger than it has ever been. I attend this event for the second consecutive year and reinforce my belief that we have a lot to learn from the world's largest democracy."