modi cameron
Narendra Modi and former British Prime Minister David CameronANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP/Getty Images

Former British Prime Minister David Cameron hailed Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday and said that India is fortunate to have a leadership with clear vision, adding that the country should focus more on developing skills and infrastructure.

In response to a question at the Annual General Meeting of the Indian Chamber of Commerce, in Kolkata, Cameron said:

India is fortunate to have a leadership with a clear vision. When I met Prime Minister Modi I saw he has deeply thought about long-term problems.

Earlier, in his speech, Cameron lauded Modi's flagship programme 'Skill India' but pointed out that such goals cannot be achieved by the government initiatives alone.

Terming India as the land of opportunities which has one of the fastest growing economies of its size, Cameron said that the prosperity of countries like India and UK depends upon markets to operate and enterprises to flourish.

Britain became a successful economy through its desire to trade, invest, sell and innovate. While India, by setting its enterprise free, was able to lift 150 million people out of poverty in just two decades.

"India is one of the largest economies and is said to be one of the fastest growing economies of its size... for its further development the country should focus more on the development of infrastructure and skills development," he added.

Narendra Modi Launches Skill India Mission
Prime Minister Narendra Modi Launches Skill India MissionPIB/Twitter

Cameron termed protectionism and isolationism in the trade as major barriers to a country's growth and stressed the importance of free trade between nations for sustainable economic development.

"Such tendencies perceive free trade as a bad thing. It is as if someone at some point is winning, another person has to be loosing. But it does not necessarily be that way. Free trade is the key to a nation's success," Cameron said.

No one in the G20 invests more in India than the UK and there is not a bigger foreign investor in the UK than India. We are proud of that because we benefit from each other's success," he pointed out.

Taking about the US-China trade war, Cameron said that instead of starting a trade war, the UK aims to trade more with the communist giant and have a better business relationship.

Citing the example of South Korea that imparts skill training to 98 percent of its students compared with 68 percent in the UK and just two percent in India, Cameron said that countries like India and UK need to invest more in skills development.

Cameron also expressed hope that India would soon become a member of the United Nations Security Council.