On her first bilateral visit outside Europe since taking office in July, British Prime Minister Theresa May is leading a trade mission to India to reboot an age-old relationship in this age of opportunity.
May is accompanied to India by 33 business representatives. Her aim is to seize the opportunities that Brexit opened and to deliver an economy that works for all. The agenda of the visit is to strike commercial deals to create 1370 jobs in the UK besides initiating a new UK-India urban partnership to unlock opportunities worth £2 billion ($2.5 billion) over the next 5 years. It will also give a boost to India's workforce and provide a financial security to hundreds of families across the country.
The PM’s visit to Delhi and Bangalore will be focused on forging a stronger strategic partnership between the UK and India. May and Prime Minister Narendra Modi are scheduled to hold talks on trade, investment, defence and security.
May wants to establish a stronger trade and investment dialogue with India while breaking down existing barriers. She also wants to secure official-level talk agreements that will pave the way for a bilateral trade arrangement once the UK has left the EU. She is also accompanied by Secretary of State for International Trade Liam Fox and Trade Minister Greg Hands.
“When I took office, I said that the mission of this Government would be to forge a bold new positive role for the United Kingdom in the world and make Britain a country that works not for a privileged few, but for every one of us. And that’s exactly what I will be doing this week – leading my first trade mission to India, with small businesses from every corner of the country, as we seize the opportunities of leaving the European Union,” May said prior to her departure.
“Because while others seek to tie our negotiating hands, the government will get on with the job of delivering the decision of the British people. It was the MPs who overwhelmingly decided to put the decision in their hands. The result was clear. It was legitimate. MPs and peers who regret the referendum result need to accept what the people decided.
“And now, we need to turn our minds to how we get the best outcome for our country. That means sticking to our plan and timetable, getting on with the work of developing our negotiating strategy and not putting all our cards on the table – that is not in our national interest and it won’t help us get the best deal for Britain.
“It also means expanding our horizons and forging stronger partnerships with countries around the world. The UK and India are natural partners – the world’s oldest democracy and the world’s largest democracy – and together I believe we can achieve great things – delivering jobs and skills, developing new technologies and improving our cities, tackling terrorism and climate change. This is a partnership about our shared security and shared prosperity. It is a partnership of potential. And on this visit I intend to harness that potential, rebooting an age-old relationship in this age of opportunity and with that helping to build a better Britain,” she said.
A host of commercial deals are due to be signed during the visit.
-a £1.2 million ($1.5 million) joint venture initiative between the Pandrol Group in Britain and the Rahee Group in India – to set up a state-of the-art manufacturing plant in India, supplying metro and Indian rail projects across the country;
-a £15 million ($18.6 million) high-end imaging and diagnostic centre in Chennai to be developed by Lyca Health UK; and
-a £350 million investment from British start up, Kloudpad, into high-tech electronics manufacturing in Kochi. The company will create a manufacturing facility and a highly advanced research and development facility allowing them to expand their global reach.
-Both governments will also sign a landmark agreement to improve the intellectual property landscape in India with a programme of co-operation between the UK Intellectual Property Office and Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion. This will support Indian efforts to protect and enforce intellectual property rights, thereby addressing one of the concerns for British businesses operating in India.
The UK will also commit to extend assistance to India to improve its business environment, including by providing advice on reducing regulation, tax and public administration, standards and insolvency. No other country has such comprehensive co-operation with India in this area, which is intended to bolster Modi’s efforts to push India higher up in the 'Ease of Doing Business' ranking from its current 130th spot. This will, in turn, make it easier for UK businesses to trade and invest in India.
This partnership brings together not just the two governments, but also investors and top urban experts from both the nations to build smarter and more inclusive cities which will drive prosperity, jobs and growth. The collaboration is expected to focus on the fast-growing and dynamic state of Madhya Pradesh and the holy city of Varanasi is also set to benefit from it.