UK Minister for Asia in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) Mark Field said that while India may not be keen to align with the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), there is an interest in engaging with the OECD's energy agency which Britain is working towards as part of the India-UK economic diplomacy purview.
"One area that I work closely on is the International Energy Agency (IEA) and we are well aware of India wanting to engage more in that and we are looking to facilitate that and do whatever we can," the FCO minister said on Thursday.
"It is an organisation under the OECD and while we recognise and understand that is not an organisation that India necessarily wants to align itself too, but given the importance of the energy aspect, I hope the special relationship that India has with the IEA is something we can work closely on," Field said.
The IEA is a Paris-based inter-governmental organisation which acts as a policy adviser on energy issues for OECD member countries. It also works with non-member countries like India.
Field, who has been Minister for Asia and the Pacific for two years and has visited India on three occasions during his tenure at the FCO, was speaking on the state of the India-UK bilateral relations for the first time since the Indian election results.
"We very much understand the immense ambitions that Prime Minister Modi has for his second term and we hope that the UK can be supportive of many of those ambitions. Our two countries are a force for good in the world at large," he said, highlighting the UK-India Tech Partnership as one of the focus areas.
"The alignment of the values that we have with India makes us an obvious partner in this field. I also hope an increasing number of young Indian entrepreneurs, particularly in the tech field, will see the opportunities and build on it," Field said.
The minister, who is backing UK foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt in the contest for the new British Prime Minister to take over from Theresa May following her formal resignation on Friday, stressed that he did not foresee the bilateral relationship with India undergoing major changes with a change in leadership at Downing Street.
Field said: "Looking at the diplomatic aspects of the work we do, there is clearly a lot that we can cooperate on. Of course, there may be some issues we may not necessarily align on but there has been much at the UN and elsewhere that we have been able to cooperate on.
"The scale of the people to people connections, which Mr Modi has rightly called the living bridge between our two countries, is an important aspect. I have tried to focus some of my energies on the diaspora here in the UK, with a series of events in Manchester, Leeds and Birmingham".
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