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1993 - Mr Major’s Comments on India

Below is the text of Mr Major’s comments on India, made in Delhi on 24th January 1993.


[The Prime Minister was asked whether he thought the Indo-British relationship was damaged by Britain’s new role in the European Union]

PRIME MINISTER:

No, I do not see how they can and I certainly do not think whatever may happen within the European Community will affect them in the slightest. The relationship that exists between England, the United Kingdom and India is based on years of history, on years of common interest. They are both leading members of the Commonwealth, we have a common view on many international problems. Now I see that as a quite separate matter from our relationship with the European Community and an enduring matters. I would have suggested, and I daresay most Indian politicians would agree with me, that the present relationship between my country and India is as good today as at any time for very many years past and I see no reason why it cannot continue to stay that way.

[The Prime Minister was asked about the future of the Commonwealth]

PRIME MINISTER:

Oh yes, I do not have a shred of doubt about the future of the Commonwealth. You cannot break up the sort of links that have been built up between Commonwealth countries over recent years. You cannot always point to them in tangible form in the same way that one may have a direct trading relationship with a near neighbour, but they are links of language, they are links of history, they are links of interest and they are links of common interest. So I do not have any reservations about the future of the Commonwealth, I have deliberately sought to manoeuvre Britain’s position back into the centre of the Commonwealth, I think that is where she belongs and I wish to see the Commonwealth strengthened. I very much expect in the years to come that other countries will wish to join the Commonwealth and I see no-one wishing to leave it and I think that perhaps is the clearest illustration of its continuing strength.