New UK missions in Hyderabad, Chandigarh?

London: Seeking to give a fillip to trade and investment amidst recession, Britain today announced the opening of two more missions in India, making its presence in India the largest diplomatic network of any country. Foreign Secretary William Hague today told parliament that the two new Deputy High Commissions in Hyderabad and Chandigarh will take the number of UK posts in India to seven.

Besides the British high commission in New Delhi, there are UK missions in Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai and Bangalore. It also has two trade offices in Pune and Ahmedabad. Hague said: "Given the growing importance of our relations with India, I can announce today that we have secured the agreement of the Indian government to open two new Deputy High Commissions in the dynamic and important cities of Hyderabad and Chandigarh".

"This will bring the number of our diplomatic posts in India to seven. It will mean that Britain will have the most extensive diplomatic network in India of any Diplomatic Service in the world," he added. Hague said the extended presence in India "will give us a deeper understanding of India" at a time when its role in the world economy and on the world stage is growing as never before.

Hague said, "It will help expand our trade and investment relationship by helping British companies, and it will deepen our political links with State leaders across India, and I hope the House will welcome this development". He noted that Hyderabad, the capital of Andhra Pradesh, has become a magnet for foreign investment in recent years with global brands like Facebook and Google setting up their Indian operations there. Besides Punjab and Haryana, the new Chandigarh office will also be responsible for Britain`s relationship with the states of Himachal Pradesh, Uttaranchal and Rajasthan, he said.