British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs William Hague and Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne, arrived in India’s business capital Mumbai on July 7 to kick start their two-day visit of India.
“It is a measure of the ambition and drive and pace of the new government of Prime Minister Modi, that this complete turn-around in sentiment about the Indian economy has been achieved in just seven short weeks, since that stunning election victory. Now, comes the challenge of turning that optimism into a concrete programme of reform.” said Mr. Osborne in Mumbai.
London is keen to expand investment and economic cooperation with New Delhi. Britain is currently the third largest investor in India. In 2013, Britain exported goods and services worth 13 billion USD to India and imported goods and services from India worth 15.08 billion USD.
Keeping their eye on the India opportunity, the two senior ministers have brought with them the largest business and ministerial delegation ever. They are also hopeful that they can build on the strong people-to-people relations between India and Britain, and are leveraging it as a bridge between the two countries. There are around 1.5 million-strong Indian diaspora and around 40,000 Indian students in Britain.
“The British Indian community already make a huge contribution to our society and our national wealth. They are at the vanguard of the growing economic partnership between our two countries.”
Britain is looking forward to investing in India in key sectors, including research and development, infrastructure and defence. On July 7, Osborne announced that India’s defence ministry has signed a contract with the UK-based missile maker MBDA worth 428 million USD. Osborne also added that Cipla, an Indian pharmaceutical company, will be investing $170 million in its UK subsidiary to manufacture and supply a number of medicines.
“Prime Minister Modi is seeking more investment in India’s economy – and I want British companies to provide it, and the British government to support it,” said Osborne. The visit by two senior ministers from Britain came close on the heels of the trips by the French foreign minister and the Russian deputy prime minister, who are looking to build a partnership with the new Indian leadership.
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