India should open up legal services: British Justice Secy

Clarke, Britain's Lord Chancellor, who visited India three months ago heading a high-level legal delegation, said India has a rapidly growing economy but it is not free of problems.
"The Indian legal market needs to change and India has to open up legal services," Clarke told the Diwali banquet of the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan here.

Indian legal market is still not open to foreign firms, which seek alliances with Indian firms to have a presence in India and among other things serve their clients doing business in the country.

Clarke said the last G20 summit in Cannes was disappointing, but in the G20 India is now a very key player.

He said: "the Indian economy is growing at a rate any European economy would die for, but it's not free of problems".

He referred to the fall of the Rupee and the rising inflation in India as a case in point.
However, he said the economic reforms that started in 1991 have taken India to the forefront of emerging global economic super powers, "which it now definitely is".
For the UK, he said "India is a key ally and a key player".

He noted that Prime Minister David Cameron's visit to India within weeks of taking office was not an accident.

In his speech, Clarke paid tribute to the work of the Bhavan as well as the valuable contribution made by those of Indian descent to the economy of the United Kingdom.
In a lighter vein, Clarke said he regretted the departure from political life of Italy's Silvio Berlusconi.

This left him somewhat exposed, as it reduced even further the small number of
over-seventy-year-old politicians in the world - of which he was one of the few left.

On a more serious note, Clarke said the Government would continue to forge links with India.

"Let's face it. We need good friends in these difficult times," he said.

Referring to the progress made by the Bhavan, Joginder Sanger, leading NRI hotelier and Chairman of the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, said it currently had over 970 students.

"We continue to make solid progress in a number of directions. I am particularly happy that nine of our students appeared for Bachelor of Music degree, which we have been running in collaboration with Trinity College of Music and City University. All our students passed out with flying colours".

Acting High Commissioner of India, Rajesh Prasad, spoke of the great contribution of the Bhavan to the cultural life of the UK.

The event was attended by members of both houses of parliament and many leading figures in the world of business.

Among those present were Lord Swraj Paul, Lord Bagri, Lord Dholakia, Lord Hameed, Lord Gulam Noon, Keith Vaz MP, steel tycoon L N Mittal, S P Hinduja and G P Hinduja, Chairman and vice Chairman respectively of the Hinduja Group and leading NRI entrepreneur Professor Nat Puri.

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