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India Reception at Conservative Party Conference, Birmingham, 2018

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High Commissioner Y.K. Sinha and the Conservative Friends of India (CFIN) hosted a reception in the evening of 1 October 2018 on the margins of the Conservative Party Conference 2018 at the International Convention Centre, Birmingham. MP Zac Goldsmith MP, CFIN Parliamentary Co-chair and Dr. Rami Ranger, CFIN Co-chair coordinated the arrangements for the reception along with the High Commission of India.

Prominent speakers at the well-attended reception included UK’s Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt , Home Secretary Sajid Javid, Conservative Party Chairman Brandon Lewis, Secretary of State for International Development Penny Mordaunt MP and Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government James Brokenshire . Other attendees included Party Deputy Chair James Cleverly, Party Vice-Chair Helen Grant, Parliamentary Under Secretary for Housing Rishi Sunak MP, Conservative London Mayoral candidate Shaun Bailey, Bob Blackman MP, Lord Suri and Geoffrey Van Orden, MEP.

Home Secretary Sajid Javid spoke about how he forged closer links with India even during his previous roles as Culture Secretary, Business Secretary and Communities Secretary. He stated that that visa policy to take doctors and nurses out of the Tier-2 visa ceiling was reviewed by him which should help more Indian medical professionals to come to the UK. DFID Secretary talked about the shared history and values with India including the commitment to democracy, freedom and scientific advancement. Housing Secretary James Brokenshire said that he looked forward to his upcoming visit to India along with West Midlands Mayor Andy Street to take forward cooperation in smart cities and urban development. Party Chairman Brandon Lewis urged more Indian diaspora members to support the Conservative Party.
Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt mentioned that India was the first country visited by him outside Europe in his pre-university days. He noted that India was the greatest democracy in the world and no relationship was more important to the UK than India in the current scenario adding that he hoped to visit India very soon.

High Commissioner Sinha said that the reciprocal visits of PM Modi and PM May reflected the growth of the bilateral partnership in the last two years. He referred to the India-UK engagements in diverse fields such as Science & Technology, innovation, trade and investment, start-ups and cyber security. He requested the Home Secretary to consider visa free travel for diplomats and urged him to extend the 2-year visa pilot project as currently available to Chinese nationals to India as well. He hoped that UK Foreign Secretary would be able to visit India soon. He concluded by assuring everyone that India, as the fastest growing large economy in the world, was prepared to take the bilateral relationship to the next level, as UK exits the European Union.

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