He attributed the excitement and complete turn-around in sentiment about the Indian economy to the ambition, drive and pace of the new government headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, achieved in just seven weeks after its stunning election victory.
“To adopt a phrase from PM Modi: Good days are coming for the India-Britain relationship, for the investment we make in each other’s economies, for the trade between our two trading nations, for the financial partnership we can forge to build, literally, the infrastructure of the future,” Osborne said.
He added that this was partly because the British-Indian community has already made a huge contribution to Britain and its national wealth and were now at the vanguard of the growing economic partnership between the two countries.
“I look forward to meeting (Finance Minister) Arun Jaitley and the prime minister and I have just come meeting your impressive (RBI) Governor (Raghuram) Rajan. I have every confidence that Jaitley and the whole government will meet those expectations and succeed,” Osborne said.
He pointed out that Britain has increased exports to India by 50 percent and increased imports from India by one-third, British companies are now some of the biggest foreign investors in India and Indian companies invest more in Britain that in the rest of the European Union put together.
Yet, a lot more needs to be done in the field of expanding exports to India, increasing investments and rebalancing British economy
with tough decisions and making the things and providing services that the rest of the world wants to buy, he said.
Osborne pointed out that since David Cameron came to India eight years ago to the decision to make India his first big foreign visit as prime minister in 2010, to the (current) first-ever joint visit by a British foreign secretary (William Hague) and chancellor to meet the new Indian government just weeks after coming office, “we have put a stronger relationship between Britain and India at the heart of our foreign and economic policies”.
While Modi is seeking more investments in India’s economy, Osborne declared he wanted British companies to provide it and the British government to support it.
He listed the JCB opening two plants in Jaipur, Diageo drinks company investing one billion pounds this month in India, British petroleum making one of the largest foreign investments in Indian history in the energy sector, the recent 250 million pounds deal to supply British defence equipment to the Indian Air Force, among other things.
The two minsters would also visit the British expertise used in building the new ATC tower at Delhi Airport and would chart out plans of more British investments to support projects like the Bangalore-Mumbai Economic Corridor.
Inviting Indian investments in Britain, Osborne said Tata Group already has a huge successful presence in the UK and now, the Indian automobiles giant, Mahindra & Mahindra would join soon.
Osborne visited the M&M plant in the north-west suburb of Kandivali along with other delegation members as M&M plans to invest 20 million pounds in developing the latest electrical car technology in Britain.
“Mahindra’s first electric car is expected to go on sale in Britain next year. Britain wants to be at the centre of the technological revolution in electric cars… India wants its companies to lead that revolution,” he said.
Referring to investments in the pharma sector, he said that while Britains GlaxoSmithKline is a big investor in India, now, India’s Cipla will invest 100 million pounds in R&D for new respiratory and oncology drugs, and intiretroviral medicines.
Osborne also announced Standard Chartered Bank’s 100th branch opening in India this week, making it the bank’s biggest overseas presence here and expressed desire to help the Indian rupee become a great international currency.