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David Cameron interview with Faisal Islam in India

By Channel 4 News

Updated on 29 July 2010

Channel 4 News Economics Editor Faisal Islam interviews David Cameron on the final day of his visit to India. Top of the agenda was the prime minister's comments about Pakistan's alleged links to terrorism.

David Cameron and Manmohan Singh (Reuters)

The prime minister has met the Indian leader for talks on the final day of his visit to India. He was accompanied by a delegation of business leaders and cabinet colleagues, including Chancellor George Osborne, Foreign Secretary William Hague and Business Secretary Vince Cable.

Mr Cameron is reportedly promoting a new "special relationship" with India to focus on trade and investment, as well as security. But his visit has been marred by comments he made about Pakistan yesterday.

The prime minister was criticised for stepping up the rhetoric against Pakistan over accusations that it supports terrorist groups, whilst on a trip in neighbouring India, a long-term rival nuclear nation to Pakistan.

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Read more on Faisal Islam's blog

He warned Pakistan that it should not be allowed "to promote the export of terror" in the world and said it was intolerable that Pakistan should be allowed to "look both ways".

Channel 4 News Economic Editor Faisal Islam interviewed David Cameron today and started by asking him whether his trip to India had been overshadowed by his comments.

Cameron on Pakistan

Faisal Islam: Are you concerned that your comments on Pakistan have overshadowed part of this trip, or was such criticism made in India part of the agenda to curry favour here?

David Cameron: I don’t think it’s overshadowed anything, I think its important to speak frankly and clearly about these issues, I’ve always done that in the past and I’ll always want to do that as prime minister. But this trip is about building the relationship between Britain and India – a relationship that’s about the economy, business finance but also a relationship that is about security and common isssues like climate change. And on all those issues I think it’s been a great success and very, very positive.

Faisal Islam: Your comments on Pakistan ‘looking both ways’ on terror, were they motivated by the recent leaks? 

David Cameron: No, not at all. The point is this – to be fait to Pakistan, they have made progress in terms of trying to drive out of their country terrorist groups that are both damaging to Pakistan, but also damaging to others including Britain in Afghanistan and British people back at home. They have made progress but obviously we want to keep that progress going and its important for everyone to understand that its just not acceptable for there to be support within Pakistan for terrorist groups that can do so much damage as I say, in Pakistan itself but also in other parts of the world.

Cameron on how India will help Britain's economy

Faisal Islam: India has had some big wins out of this trip – nuclear power arrangements, Pakistan comments, you’ve bathed India in love –what’s Britain got in return? Even in the jet deal, there’s been very few jobs actually created in Britain.

David Cameron: Well, that’s not actually the case, there are thousands of jobs that have been created and safeguarded through the Hawk contract that was agreed yesterday. I think that’s extremely important. In terms of civil nuclear power, there’s British expertise that can be rewarded by working here in India. There’s opportunities in infrastructure, there are opportunities to open up markets in retail and banking and insurance. And also, this is not just about the economy. I had a very good conversation last night with the Director of the British Museum, who’s hugely enthusiastic about the cultural exchanges and the work they can do to help museums in India. So, this is about the links between our countries but its also about business. And above all, its about jobs.  It’s making sure we have more jobs at home, in the UK and that’s why I’m here. That’s why I brought all these people with me. To help the British economy as it recovers to have well paid jobs for our people. That’s what this is about.

Cameron on how he'll sell Britain

Faisal Islam: But every country in the world is trying this export-led recovery, to India. Most countries that have succeeded in this mission have thrown public money at it…why is Britain going to buck that trend?

David Cameron: Well, I think we have a great advantage over almost all of those other economies that you mention which is that Britain is one of the most open and globalised and welcoming economies there is in the world. I had a meeting this morning with Ratan Tata, now Tata own Jaguar Land Rover for example, which is now moving into profit. He said that under this new government, Britain is one of the most exciting and dynamic places to do business. And there’s real opportunities for us here because we’re actually starting to re-industrialise some of Britain with that sort of investment. So I think we can come here to India and say ‘our own economy is so open and so welcoming to your investment, now let’s make sure that the openness is both ways and British expertise in retail, in banking, in insurance, in defence and elsewhere can really get involved in the Indian economy as well’.

Cameron on the Immigration cap

Faisal Islam: But when you talk about free trade, people in India talk about free movement of people of software engineers, they’ve very concerned. You must have had representations from Indian businessmen about the migration cap? Doesn’t this just got to show that its unworkable, as your business secretary seems to think.

David Cameron: No, well that’s not what the business secretary thinks at all. We have a very clear agreement that we do need to control immigration in the UK. But we want to capture the benefits of immigration – it should be about quality rather than quantity. And the fact is that if you just take the student issue. In the past years we’ve had too many bogus students studying bogus courses at bogus colleges. Now that doesn’t really benefit anybody. What we ought to be doing is attracting highly qualified students to our best and brightest universities. That’s what we want to see and that’s completely consistent with a cap on immigration which we will set, and bringing net immigration down to the levels that it was in the past – which will have also a political side benefit for the whole country frankly which is that immigration will no longer be a top political issue. It wasn’t in the past and under the leadership we’re going to show, it won’t be in the future.

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