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PM to discuss N Korea in London

Last updated on: October 10, 2006 00:01 IST

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh arrived in London on Monday on a three-day visit to Britain. The two sides are expected to focus on efforts to jointly fight terrorism affecting both countries and boost economic ties.

India seeks to highlight Pakistani link to North Korea's nuclear programme and its repurcussion on security and stability in the region.

Singh will also talk with British Prime Minister Tony Blair on Tuesday on a wide range of issues. During the talks the Indian side is expected to share evidence with Britain regarding involvement of Pakistan's ISI and terror groups based there in July 11 Mumbai blasts and other terror attacks in India.

"Given the common threats we face, cooperation in the area of combating terrorism has become particularly significant," the prime minister said in Delhi before his departure setting the tone for tomorrow's talks.

The Mumbai train blasts and the aborted terror plot in London in June have a common link -- perpetrators of these had been trained in Pakistan. The focus of talks between Singh and Blair will be evolving of some kind of cooperative arrangement against terrorism, particularly in view of mega sporting events -- Commonwealth Games and Olympics being hosted by the two countries in the next few years.

In the second leg of his six-day two-nation tour, the prime minister will travel to Finland on Wednesday to attend India-EU summit.

During the talks, Singh and Blair are expected to explore ways to furthering economic and trade ties. The discussions may also cover cooperation in energy, science and technology, education and research and cultural ties.

Some specific areas may be identified in the economic field for cooperation. Singh, who is leading a high-level business delegation, will also address with Blair the India-UK Investment Summit on Tuesday.

The prime minister, who is accompanied by Commerce Minister Kamal Nath and other top officials, will also have a meeting with business leaders from Britain. Britain is India's largest trading partner in the European Union and an important source of foreign investment.

Singh will also receive an honourary doctorate from the prestigious Cambridge University, nearly 50 years after graduating from the varsity in economics. The prime minister will fly to Finnish capital Helsinki on Wednesday to attend the fourth India-EU Summit, which he said would provide an opportunity to review progress in implementation of the Joint Action Plan adopted by the last Summit held in Delhi.

The leaders would review specific steps to enhance trade and investment ties between India and the EU, which were not only New Delhi's largest trading partner but an important source of Foreign Direct Investment and high technology.

In recognition of India's growing stature, a strategic partnership was formalised during The Hague Summit in 2004 and since then the dialogue has expanded to issues ranging from globalisation, counter terrorism, energy, environment and high tech areas such as ITER and the Galileo Project.

The discussions at the Summit would be reflected in a Joint Statement to be issued at its conclusion. During his stay in Helsinki, Singh would hold bilateral talks with his Finnish counterpart Matti Vanhanen, who had visited India in March.

Singh will also call on President Tarja Halonen. Noting Finland is a world leader in high technology sectors including telecommunications, IT and biotechnology, the prime minister hoped his visit would add further momentum to bilateral ties between the two countries.

Ajay Kaul in London
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