Former British prime minister David Cameron today said India was growing faster than any larger economy and providing opportunities. “It is important to focus on possibilities, good and bad, while remain mindful of the threats which the world is facing now,” he said at a session of the Indian Chamber of Commerce (ICC) here. “Relationship between the two countries was one of the priorities during my premiership. The UK invested more in India among the G20 countries and our country was one of the recipients of the biggest Indian investment by the Tatas”, Cameron said.
Cameron, who was the British prime minister from 2010 to 2016, said that trade and investment were not zero sum game. Today, he said, there was backlash against market economy and emergence of strongman politics. “Our two countries will flourish when markets operate. India is at the potential stage of take-off with 7 per cent growth”, he said.
Cameron said that there was a growing move towards protectionism and isolationism on the premise that free trade was unfair. “What I feel is that there is no need to change the system but to reshape the course”, he said. “Let us fly the flag of trade and cooperation. India should get permanent membership in the UN Security Council as well”, he said. Criticising US President Donald Trump’s move to impose duty on Indian steel, he said, “Indian prime minister has to show that he is strong.”
Also disagreeing with Trump’s view on trade deficit, Cameron said it was normal that some country would have deficit and some surplus. “If all the countries have trade surplus, then who will have deficit”, he asked. Talking about Indian leadership, he said, “India is fortunate to have leadership with clear vision. When I met Narendra Modi in 2006, he had deep thought about the long-term problems.
Cameron also said that there was also an existential threat due to climate change, he said that environment would have to be protected and regretted the US decision to walk out of Paris climate accord. He said India was facing challenges in infrastructure and skill development.