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Last Updated: Thursday, 8 September 2005, 14:56 GMT 15:56 UK
India PM praises UK relationship
Tony Blair with Manmohan Singh in Udaipur
The retreat is a chance for one-on-one talks
Tony Blair's talks with Manmohan Singh have ended with the Indian prime minister hailing his country's "very special relationship" with the UK.

Mr Blair, who holds the EU presidency, has already met Indian industrialists in an effort to boost trade between India and Europe.

The two leaders also declared their "zero tolerance" of terrorism.

Mr Blair's overseas tour took in China and India, both fast-growing economies, renowned for important export markets.

Cherie comments

Speaking at a joint news conference at the end of the four-day trip, Mr Blair said acts of terrorism could not be stopped by security measures alone.

"People know that this global terrorism we face in India, in Britain and around the world comes from a perversion of the true faith of Islam," he told reporters.

But he refused to respond to comments reportedly made on Wednesday by his wife Cherie about the way Muslim women are treated in some countries.

Mrs Blair is understood to have said: "I am deeply religious. I have a deep fascination with Islam but the way it is interpreted in some countries and the way women are treated is an anachronism."

She is thought to have made that and other remarks at a lunch on Wednesday for Indian women journalists.

Mr Blair said he had not been present at the private lunch and did not want to comment.

"I have got enough issues on my plate without getting into a whole lot of new ones," the UK premier said.

Bilateral relationship

BBC political editor Nick Robinson said the fact the comments had emerged out of the private lunch was a "potential embarrassment" for Mr Blair.

Mr Blair and Mr Singh, who met in a hotel in Udaipur, told reporters they had discussed the expansion of the United Nations security council.

Mr Singh told reporters: "We agreed that there can be no justification whatsoever for terrorism on any grounds, religious, political, ideological or any other."

Commenting on relations with the UK, Mr Singh said: "Our relationship is very special and one which contains exceptional potential.

"Both governments are determined to realise this potential to the advantage of our people and our bilateral relationship."

The two leaders also discussed the UN's Millennium Goals - targets to reduce poverty and increase development in poorer countries.

The BBC's political editor Nick Robinson said Mr Blair believes he has built a better relationship with India on trade and other issues.

Britain is currently the holder of the rotating EU presidency and Mr Blair's visit was marked by Mr Singh's announcement that Indian Airlines is placing a 1.2bn order with Airbus.

Mr Blair has already visited Beijing and Delhi on his four-day tour.


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How India's trade with the UK has grown



SEE ALSO:
Blair hails India 'turning point'
07 Sep 05 |  UK Politics
Airbus wins $2.2bn Indian order
07 Sep 05 |  Business
Blair calls for UN terror stand
07 Sep 05 |  UK Politics
Blair presses for China democracy
06 Sep 05 |  UK Politics
Chinese get a taste of Blairism
05 Sep 05 |  UK Politics


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