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Cameron embarrassed over bribery scandal during Indian trade trip

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Cameron embarrassed over bribery scandal during Indian trade trip

Post  Panda on Tue 19 Feb - 11:50

David Cameron embarrassed over bribery scandal during Indian trade trip


David Cameron has suffered an embarrassing public intervention from India
over a bribery scandal involving a defence firm with major British interests.









Prime Minister David Cameron
with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Photo: AP
Photo/Saurabh Das







By James Kirkup, in Mumbai

9:51AM GMT 19 Feb 2013


56 Comments




Manmohan Singh, the Indian prime minister, publicly challenged Mr Cameron to
provide British help to a corruption investigation involving AgustaWestland
helicopters.


Mr Cameron is on a trade visit to India amid controversy over
Finmeccanica
, an Italian firm that makes AgustaWestland helicopters
in the UK.


The Indian ministry of defence last week suspended a £480 million contract to
buy 12 Westland helicopters after Finmeccanica’s chief executive was arrested in
Italy over allegations he paid bribes to win the deal.


Mr Cameron this week said the row would not stop him lobbying for Westland
helicopters, which are built in Yeovil, Somerset. He has also insisted that the
problem is an Italian with no British involvement.


But at a joint press conference in Delhi today, Mr Singh spoke of his "very
serious concerns" about allegations of "unethical" practices over the contract
and suggested a British involvement in investigating the scandal.



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"I have sought full assistance from the UK in this," he said. Mr Cameron
replied: "We will respond to any request for information".

He also sought to highlight the company's Italian ownership. "I am glad the
Italian authorities are looking into this matter," he said. "Finmeccanica is an
Italian company."

Cancellation of the contract could have serious repercussions for
AgustaWestland and workers at its Yeovil production plant
.


Only three of the helicopters have so far been delivered, three more have
been completed but are yet to be delivered and six more – half of the contract –
are still in production.

AgustaWestland UK is Yeovil’s major employer, with 3,200 permanent staff and
a further 1,500 sub-contractors.

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Re: Cameron embarrassed over bribery scandal during Indian trade trip

Post  Panda on Wed 20 Feb - 7:23

Moaning about immigration will damage trade, says Gavin Barwell MP


David Cameron's trade mission to India will fail unless ministers stop
talking about immigration as a problem, a government aide has warned.









Mr Barwell said British
politicians risk 'sending very mixed messages' to prospective Indian students
and investors





By Tim Ross, Political
Correspondent

10:00PM GMT 19 Feb 2013





Indian investment in British companies has declined to a “worrying” degree in
the past two years as a result of the negative debate on limiting migration,
according to Gavin Barwell, a Conservative MP.


Mr Barwell, who is a parliamentary aide to the Education Secretary, said Mr Cameron’s trip to India would do no good
unless the tone of immigration policy changed.


His comments were made amid a Cabinet row over the Home Secretary’s
commitment to limit inward migration to the tens of thousands.


Theresa May said further relaxing the rules on immigration could undermine
national security.


Ministers including Vince Cable, the Business Secretary, have been critical
of the target, warning that it risks deterring entrepreneurs and scientists.
Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, has urged the Government to let in the “best
and brightest”.



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There are fears that Britain’s reputation as a leading destination for
international students, who pay full university tuition fees, has suffered.

In an article for The Telegraph, Mr Barwell said British politicians
risk “sending very mixed messages” to prospective Indian students and investors.
He praises Mr Cameron’s “spot on” message that there is no limit on the number
of Indian students who can study at British universities. He continues: “There
is evidence that this is not the message that has been getting through and that
the reality for Indians trying to come to Britain to study or do business can be
depressingly different.

“It’s no good the Prime Minister committing so much of his time to beating
the drum for Britain and telling the world we are open for business if every
time we talk about immigration domestically it is always in terms of it being a
problem, of not wanting people to come here.”

Mr Barwell has started the immigration think tank, Migration Matters, which
has analysed government figures and found a fall in Indian investment in the UK.
The number of Indian undergraduates travelling to Britain to study has fallen 24
per cent in the past year, while there was a 28 per cent fall in postgraduate
numbers.

These declines are unprecedented and will cost the economy an estimated £169 
million, Mr Barwell said. “That means lower growth, fewer jobs and a heavier
burden on British nationals struggling to pay down the deficit built up by the
last government,” he added. The number of Indian-funded investment projects in
Britain fell from 97 in 2011 to 81 in 2012, Mr Barwell said, adding that the
immigration controls of the UK Border Agency were “expensive”, bureaucratic and
“intimidatory”.

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Re: Cameron embarrassed over bribery scandal during Indian trade trip

Post  Panda on Wed 20 Feb - 7:54

David Cameron makes historic visit to Amritsar – but stops short of making
apology



David Cameron has been criticised for failing to meet the families of
Indians killed by British troops as he tried to make amends for a "deeply
shameful" Imperial massacre.









Prime Minister David Cameron
poses for photographs along with Avtar Singh Makkar (R) and others during his
visit to the holiest of Sikh shrines, the Golden Temple in Amritsar Photo: EPA/RAMINDER PAL
SINGH






By James Kirkup, in
Amritsar

6:50AM GMT 20 Feb 2013





The Prime Minister invoked Sir Winston Churchill as he lamented the
"monstrous" killings in Amritsar in 1919.


Mr Cameron flew to Amritsar at the end of a trade visit to Delhi and made a
public show of British contrition over the massacre, which left at least 379
Sikh civilians dead.


Prime Minister David Cameron during his
visit to the holiest of Sikh shrines, the Golden Temple in Amritsar (EPA)




The Prime Minister visited a memorial in the Jallianwala Bagh gardens, laying
a wreath and writing in a book of remembrance.


Churchill was Secretary of War at the time of the massacre, and led criticism
of the commanding officer, Brigadier Reginald Dyer.



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His troops opened fire on civilians protesting oppressive laws enforced in
the Punjab by British colonial authorities.

In his tribute, Mr Cameron stopped short of an apology, but expressed
profound regret at the incident.

"This was a deeply shameful event in British history, one that Winston
Churchill rightly described at the time as "monstrous". We must never forget
what happened here," Mr Cameron wrote.

"In remembering we must ensure that the United Kingdom stands up for the
right to peaceful protest around the world."

Prime Minister David Cameron poses for
photographs with Avtar Singh Makkar (EPA)


Sunil Kapoor, whose great-grandfather was killed in the massacre, said he was
pleased with Mr Cameron's words, but said he should have meet relatives.

He said: "I am not satisfied because he did not meet the descendants. If you
feel shameful, why not make an apology?"

Mr Kapoor, the head of the Jallianwala Bagh Freedom Fighters Foundation, said
that Mr Cameron had not fully righted the wrongs of 1919.

"For 94 years we are waiting for justice," he said.

However, Sukumar Mukherjee, secretary of the memorial site and the grandson
of a massacre survivor, said Mr Cameron had done more than enough.

He said: "He has come here, he has paid his tribute. It is more than an
apology."

The Jallianwala Bagh site is a short distance from the Golden Temple, the
most holy site in Sikhdom. Mr Cameron earlier visited the temple, the first
British prime minister to do so.

In keeping with Sikh tradition, Mr Cameron wore a blue scarf to cover his
head, and walked around the temple site barefoot, having washed his feet before
entering.

His visit to the massacre site and the Sikh temple are part of a Conservative
attempt to increase support among non-white British voters.























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