PM on jets trade mission

Prime Minister David Cameron arrives in Mumbai, India, ahead of his three-day visit to the country
Prime Minister David Cameron arrives in Mumbai, India, ahead of his three-day visit to the country
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David Cameron will continue to push a Lancashire-built jets bid to land a multi-billion pound contract during a visit to India.

The Prime Minister flew into Mumbai on a three-day trade mission with a promise to discuss the Eurofighter Typhoon’s bid to land a 126-jet deal with the Indian air force.

Last year, the Indians agreed to make the French Rafale jet its ‘preferred bidder’ for the £13bn contract although a deal is yet to be finalised.

Parts for the Typhoon are made at BAE Systems’ fighter jet-building factory at Warton and Samlesbury, near Preston, and any deal with the Indians would bring work to the Lancashire plants.

In an email to news agency, Bloomberg, Mr Cameron’s office said: “We respect the fact that the Indians have chosen their preferred bidder and are currently negotiating with the French.

“Of course, we will continue to promote Eurofighter as a great fast jet, not just in India but around the world.”

Speaking upon arriving on Sunday, he said he wanted to make it easier for Indian businessmen and students to work, study and invest in the UK.

But, Mr Cameron made clear that in return, he wanted India to tear down outdated barriers to investment to help UK-based companies in areas like insurance and banking to establish a foothold in the fast-growing economy.

He said: “Britain is one of the most open, easy-to-invest-in countries in the world. We are incredibly welcoming.

“I am very proud of the fact that it is an Indian company, Tata, that makes the Jaguars and Land Rovers that are taking the world by storm.

“They also roll most of our steel and own Tetley Tea - and you don’t get any more British than Tetley Tea.

“I am very proud of that. Britain is an open economy and we encourage that investment.

“I think, in return, we should be having a conversation about opening up the Indian economy, making it easier to do business here, allowing insurance and banking companies to doo more foreign direct investment into the Indian economy.”