Brown says UK, India should step up terrorism fight
(Updates with Brown press conference)
By Adrian Croft
NEW DELHI, Jan 20 (Reuters) - Britain and India should step up cooperation in the fight against terrorism and work together to isolate militants, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said on Sunday.
Brown, on his first visit to India as prime minister, said he would like to see India join an international body that fights money laundering and terrorist financing, the Paris-based Financial Action Task Force (FATF).
He said he also wanted to help India acquire sophisticated equipment to detect people carrying weapons or explosives at ports and airports.
"What I would like to see is greater contact between our two countries in winning the battle of hearts and minds, isolating extremist ideologues who try to poison young people," Brown told a news conference.
He also called for greater cooperation between British and Indian security agencies.
In television interviews, Brown said he wanted India to join the FATF, set up by the Group of Seven leading industrial nations in 1989. China joined the FATF last June and Brown said India wanted to join too.
Hailing growing economic and trade ties between India and Britain, its former colonial ruler, Brown said "there are $10 billion of contracts waiting to be signed", but gave no details.
Speaking at a forum for entrepreneurs, Brown said he backed Indian membership of the U.N. Security Council and said there should be regular meetings of the Group of Eight leading industrial nations and the major developing countries India, China, Brazil, Mexico and South Africa.
Brown arrived bearing promises of hundreds of millions of dollars of development aid to combat poverty in India, where 400 million people live on less than $1 a day despite the country's rapid economic growth.
Britain said that over the next three years it will give India 825 million pounds ($1.6 billion) in development aid, with more than half spent on health and education.
Brown said he would discuss cooperation against terrorism and the situation in Myanmar (Burma) with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
A U.N. report last month said Myanmar's crackdown on democracy protests last September killed at least 31 people, three times the official count, with up to 4,000 arrested and 1,000 still detained.
Brown, who flew to India after visiting China, said the Chinese government was "working with" Britain on Myanmar.
"We will be looking at how we can persuade the Burmese regime that it's important that Mr. (Ibrahim) Gambari, the U.N. envoy, returns to Burma as soon as possible," he said.
"I would like to see the U.N. secretary general empowered to visit Burma at a later date," he said, calling for the release of political prisoners and a move towards reconciliation and democracy in Myanmar.
In a sign of India's increasing financial clout, Tata Steel Ltd last year bought Anglo-Dutch steelmaker Corus for 6.2 billion pounds. Ford Motor Co this month chose a sister company, Tata Motors Ltd, as the front-runner to buy British vehicle makers Jaguar and Land Rover.
(Editing by Michael Winfrey)
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