UK prime minister TonyBlair, currently on a three day tour to India, announced in New Delhi today(Thursday) that the UK and India would be "signing an agreement on filmproduction" during his visit.

The agreement, trailed inMarch2005 by British culture secretary Tessa Jowell and Indian ministerfor Information and Broadcasting Jaipal Reddy, will formally launch aco-production treaty making it easier for the UK film industry to shareexpertise with the world's largest film production country (1052 films in2004).

The treaty would enable filmmakers in the UK and India to pool resources with Bollywood film-makersencouraged to invest in British talent and UK locations. In return, they wouldbenefit from UK film-making expertise, while their films could be eligible forUK film tax incentives.

"The film productionagreement will be of tangible benefit to both countries," commented Indianfilm-maker Subhash Ghai.

A team headed by Claire Wiseof the UK Film Council had visited New Delhi in June 2005to finalize theIndia/UK treaty. India already has a treaty with Italy which was signed inearly May this year.

Blair added that bilateralties between India and UK"were never more exciting" for further strengthening trade and politicalrelations. Noting that Britain was proud of Indian businessmen's contributionto the UK's economy and vice versa, Blair said, "We can do a great dealmore," and asked the business community to exploit the opportunity.