High-level Indian ministerial visits to London next month to seek investments in key sectors
India’s Finance and Defence Minister Arun Jaitley is scheduled to visit London Oct 13-14 for an interface with financial institutions to persuade them to invest in India. The trip by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj Oct 17-18 to inaugurate the Regional Pravasi Bharatiya Divas in the British capital combined with the one by Jaitley will, in effect, constitute the highest level back-to-back ministerial sojourns since the BJP-led NDA government in India entered office four months ago.
A British government source told RAY: “Invitations to the investor meet have also been extended to Indian ministers dealing with energy and infrastructure, but their participations are yet to be confirmed.”
While in London, Jaitley, who recently missed the G20 Finance Ministers’ meeting in Australia, reportedly because of a procedure to treat his diabetes, will meet his counterparts George Osborne, the chancellor of the exchequer, and Michael Fallon, secretary of state for defence, the details of which are being worked out between the respective Whitehall departments and the Indian High Commission in London.
Information received by RAY indicates that since Osborne met Jaitley in Delhi in July and held fairly threadbare talks on that occasion, their interaction in London is likely to be less extensive. The meeting with Fallon, though, is expected to be more exhaustive, as this will be the first between the two and at cabinet level since the new Indian government’s announcement about easing foreign direct investment (FDI) norms in the defence production sector.
British defence manufacturers are especially keen to deepen their presence in the hugely lucrative Indian market and are already trying to seek out suitable joint venture partners.
Jaitley is also slated to open the London branch of an Indian bank.
Swaraj, too, will meet her counterpart Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond when she is in London. Her visit will take place only a few weeks after she was startled to hear about Scotland’s independence referendum and her slightly indelicate but honest response “God forbid!” at a press conference.