sharifLONDON: Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif today assured his UK counterpart David Cameron of cooperation with any new government that takes over in India.

The two leaders issued here a joint statement after their bilateral talks, that ranged across various sectors such as security and defence to cultural and economic cooperation.

“Prime Minister Sharif also held comprehensive discussions with UK ministers about security and stability in Pakistan and the wider South Asia region.

“They agreed to the importance of supporting the new Afghan government and developing closer cooperation with the new government in India,” the statement read.

“On support to a secure and stable Pakistan, both sides agreed to continue counterterrorism training and support, including aviation security, exploring building on our existing counter-IED programme, and increasing security cooperation at customs,” it added.

A new British Deputy High Commission in Lahore was green-lit during the meeting between Cameron and Sharif.

This was Sharif’s first official bilateral visit to the UK since Pakistan’s elections in May 2013.

He also held meetings with the UK Foreign Secretary, Home Secretary, Defence Secretary, Secretary of State for International Development and delivered a keynote address at the Pakistan Investment Conference.

The visit marked the launch of a UK-Pakistan cultural and education cooperation ‘roadmap’ which sets out the basis of cultural engagement between the two countries and enables collaboration on a calendar of cultural engagement for the next three years.

In partnership with UK providers, the roadmap includes the British Council’s commitment to train 1 million teachers of English over the next four years in Punjab, Sindh and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa provinces to help enhance the quality of English language teaching in Pakistan.

A new Memorandum of Understanding on the status of the British Council in Pakistan maps out a range of joint activities around the British Council’s work there, including English language learning, arts and the creative industries.

The UK and Pakistan also discussed how to further the trade and investment links between the UK and Pakistan. Both sides renewed their commitment to increase bilateral trade to 3 billion pounds by 2015.

A revised Trade and Investment Roadmap sets out new cooperation between the UK and Pakistan, including four new Trade Champions to progress the business agenda.

The two governments welcomed indicators of an upturn in economic activity and agreed on the importance of improved conditions in Pakistan to foster economic stability, inclusive growth and prosperity.–PTI