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February - March 2008


Ken Livingstone's Passage to India

by Krishan Ralleigh

Photo Credit: Prashanth Vishwanthan

Ken Livingstone, the Mayor of London visited India for a week promoting special relationship between London and Mumbai and London and Delhi. The tour of India took him to Mumbai, Delhi and Amritsar.

Mayor of London in front of a 22ft tall replica of London’s iconic Big Ben in Rajiv Gandhi Chok, one of Delhi’s most famous public spaces.

In Mumbai, the Mayor witnessed the celebraion of the Special Relationship,with the signing of an historic city-to-city agreement by Film London, London’s film and media agency, and the Film and Television Producers Guild of India. Amitabh Bachchan, the legendary film actor joined Ken Livingstone, the Mayor of London, to witness the signing that was attended by Adrian Wootton, Chief Executive of Film London, Sandy Lieberson, Chair of Film London and Ronnie Screwvala, President of the Film and Television Guild of India. The signing took place at Whistling Woods Film School, Film City, Mumbai As part of the agreement, Film London and the Film and Television Producers Guild of India agree to work together to share ideas and best practice on domestic and international film production and promotion.

Ken Livingstone with the pianist and singer Myleene Klass and Sonu Nigam, Bollywood’s singer and actor.

The Mayor addressed a conference entitled “London and India: Partners in Globalisation” in Mumbai and then visited the Bandra-Worli sea link and Dharavi slum.

Moving on to Delhi, He met Delhi’s chief minister Mrs Sheila Dixit and signed a partnership agreement. It reads;”London and New Delhi, as capital cities of the United kingdom and the Republic of India come together to reinforce and further develop the long standing links between the cities and to foster mutually beneficial solutions to common challenges. The desire to strengthen the relations between our cities is based on a foundation of shared democratic values and beliefs, celebrating the contribution of communities, and, in the spirit of international understanding, to enhance the quality of life of the people in both the cities.”

The Mayor of London with Dr Rajendra K. Pachauri (Joint Nobel Peace prize winner,2007)

The special partnership between London and New Delhi is to promote, economic and business relations, promoting sports and city tourism, urban transport, environmental initiatives, education and cultural exchanges.

the Mayor with Amitabh Bachchan

The Mayor was given a guided tour of the Delhi Metro. Along with Lord Sebastian Coe, he met with the Commonwealth Games organising Committee in Delhi to share expertise in hosting two of the world’s most prestigious sporting events. They met Lt. Governor Mr Tejendra Khanna and Suresh Kalmadi, Chairman of the Delhi Organising Committee for the Commonwealth Games and Chairman of the Indian Olympic Association. The Mayor managed to visit Golden Temple in Amritsar, Akshardham temple and the grand mosque in Delhi.

Praying at the Golden Temple, Amritsar. Good for the soul

The Mayor also announced the opening of the London India Office in Delhi to promote business, culture and tourism between the two cities.he announced the appointment of Divya Dwivedi as the Mayor’s representative in Delhi.

Ken Livingstone, Divya Dwivedi and Richard Branson

  • Some Facts:
  • In 2006 visitors to London from India spent more than those from Japan for the first time. Indian visitors spent £152 million.
  • There were 230,000 visitors from India in 2006.
  • Indian student numbers in London have doubled in thelast five years from 2,190 in 2001 to 4,320 in 2005.
  • It is estimated that students from India contribute £60 million to London’s economy (2005/6 academic year).
  • London’s largest minority ethnic community is Indians and 10,000 Indian-owned businesses are based in London.

A visit to Daharavi, the largest slum in Mumbai

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