CEOs urged to push UK-India Ties

Modi meeting the CEOs at India-UK CEOs Forum, in London

Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked industry captains to contribute to India-Britain ties since the political will of the two countries was well established….reports Asian Lite News

Modi meeting the CEOs at India-UK CEOs Forum, in London
Modi meeting the CEOs at India-UK CEOs Forum, in London

Addressing the UK-India CEOs Forum, Modi, who earlier assured global investors on how welcoming India was as the preferred investment destination, said it was for industry captains to push bilateral ties with Britain as the political will of the two nations’ leadership was well established.

“India and the United Kingdom are economically made for each other. This relationship has to be driven by private sector CEOs now,” Modi said.

“People of UK and India are easily compatible. This is in itself is a big advantage.”

British Prime Minister David Cameron, who also addressed the forum meeting, articulated a similar position at the meeting, attended by around 30 chief executives from the two sides. “We both have the political will to take our economic relationship forward,” Cameron said.

The Indian prime minister, who made a series of statements and oversaw the release of several joint statements with his host Cameron on Thursday, said he was particularly keen that the global investment community participates in India’s infrastructure projects.

“We want to develop our railway stations in the public-private partnership mode,” Modi said, adding: “Defence manufacturing is also the backbone of our ‘Make in India’ initiative.”

Modi also said India was looking at the global stage now. “We are confidently, consistently and ceaselessly working to integrate our economy with the world,” he told the meeting, held at Lancaster House, close to Buckingham Palace.

Modi and Cameron with  the CEOs attended the Indo-UK CEO conference
Modi and Cameron with the CEOs attended the Indo-UK CEO conference

The Indian prime minister also referred to initiatives such as “Make in India” and said a special emphasis was on sprucing up infrastructure, further opening up of the economy to foreign capital, building 50 million new houses by 2022 and generating 175 GW of renewable energy.

“British companies in India will be a win-win partnership for both countries.”

On Thursday, deals worth $14 billion were signed by the businesses of the two countries.

With Prime Minister Narendra Modi on a state visit to the UK, the foreign investment reforms announced by the government of India this week are likely to set the tone for a revitalized investment partnership, top industry chamber CII said on Thursday.

“There is huge excitement, of course, among the Indian diaspora in the UK, but the business community is also keenly looking forward to a substantial boost in economic relations and commercial cooperation announcements from the visit,” said Chandrajit Banerjee, director general of the Confederation of Indian Industry.

The CII said that as an institutional partner from India for the official India-UK CEO Forum, it hoped to generate more thought leadership in the process, driving some big business ideas that highlight the real potential of India-UK collaboration.

According to an analysis by the Chamber, cumulative equity investment from the UK to India between January 2003 and August 2015 amounted to $54.35 billion.

The annual equity investment from the UK for 2015 has already touched a six-year high at over $4 billion. At its peak in 2008, annual equity investment had crossed $10 billion. Hence the potential for new UK investment into India is very high, said CII.

Top sectors attracting investments from the UK include oil and natural gas, ports, roads and highways, chemicals, electronic equipment, and telecommunications.

The recent FDI announcements covering 16 sectors include many areas of interest to the UK industry.

CII Hails Modi Visit
The Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) said the UK can build up its investment pipeline in the areas of defence manufacturing, infrastructure and real estate, financial services and conventional and renewable energy industry, among others.

The CII has recommended that the two sides step up engagement of their small and medium enterprises to enhance investment and employment. Indian companies too have invested strongly in the UK, with a total of $11.3 billion of investments between January 2003 and August 2015, mainly to address UK markets as well as to serve European markets.

The London Stock Exchange has 28 companies listed from India.

Prominent Indian companies investing in the UK include Tata Motors, Lulu Group, Essar Energy, TVS Group, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) and Indian banks.

The CII stated that the ‘Make in India’ initiative would gain from the proposal of the UK Export Finance to extend a 1 billion pound line of credit for Indian infrastructure projects such as the Bengaluru-Mumbai Economic Corridor (BMEC).

In IT services, the UK is the largest market in Europe for Indian IT firms. Over 30 British blue-chip companies and many smaller companies have offshored work to India, creating over 60,000 jobs here.

“It is estimated that British companies save over 1 billion pounds every year due to off-shoring, including to India,” the CII statement said.

The defence sector promises to be a good opportunity for Indian and UK firms to set up partnerships. India would be rolling out more than 100 projects in the next few years and more than $15 billion worth of projects have been cleared in the last year itself.

Bilateral trade stood at $14.34 billion in 2014-15, with India’s exports at $9.3 billion and imports at $5 billion.

India exports garments and textiles, machinery, petroleum products, footwear and leather, gems and jewelry, metal goods and so on to the UK. Its main imports from the UK are machinery and equipment, ores, precious and semi-precious stones, silver etc.

Services trade between the two countries in 2013 amounted to 2.2 billion pounds with India exporting 1.36 billion pounds and importing 0.86 billion pounds, primarily financial and business services, transportation services and travel services.