George Osborne proposes UK-India financial sector partnership

UK has offered to make London the European headquarters of the State Bank of India and grant Indian Exim Bank a licence to operate in Britain to help India speed up the opening up of its financial sector to overseas investments.

UK's Chancellor of the Exchequer (finance minister) George Osborne also today rang the opening bell at the Bombay Stock Exchange to symbolise the advent of a new partnership.

Osborne's gesture comes close on the heels of the other Geoge (Soros) announcing plans to dip into the BSE - Asia's oldest stock exchange. (See: George Soros eyes 4-% stake in BSE) "This is the beginning of a new relationship," Osborne said after ringing the bell at the start of BSE's trading session in Mumbai today. "It is a historic day as I am opening (the trading at) Asia's oldest bourse," Osborne said.

Osborne, who is accompanying the visiting British prime minister David Cameron, said Britain wants to build a much deeper relationship with India that, he said, could transform the rural landscape of the country as well.

The UK prime minister is leading a delegation of senior ministers and businessmen to India - the biggest UK trade delegation in recent times.

Cameron, who took over as British prime minister over a month ago, has put himself personally in charge of building relations with India while giving the charge of handling ties with China to his deputy, Nick Clegg.