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Keynote Address by High Commissioner Mr Y. K. Sinha at the 7th Aldgate Business Forum on May 31, 2018

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Keynote Address by High Commissioner Mr Y. K. Sinha at the 7th Aldgate Business Forum on May 31, 2018

On May 31, 2018, High Commissioner Mr Y. K. Sinha was invited to deliver the keynote address by Alderman Peter Hewitt on India- UK relations in the context of Brexit at the 7th Aldgate Business Forum in London. The Aldgate Business Forum was instituted by Alderman Peter Hewitt in 2012 to act as a vehicle to bring together businesses to discuss key issues and to help City-based businesses gain a greater understanding of the City of London and the role of the Corporation. The High Commission and the City of London work closely to boost economic and commercial activity between India and the UK especially in the fields of financial services and Fintech.

The event was attended by High Commissioners, Ambassadors, senior officials of the City of London and some 70 business representatives. High Commissioner’s address highlighted the deep and multifaceted bilateral relations and the impact of Brexit on India-UK relations. High Commissioner stated that India and the UK share a modern relationship based on a shared legacy. Close political ties manifest in the frequent high-level visits between the two countries, including UK Prime Minister Theresa May’s visit in November 2015- her first bilateral visit outside Europe after being elected as UKPM and Indian Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi’s visit to the UK in April 2018.

High Commissioner highlighted the various agreements signed during the recent visit by PM Modi. 10 MOUs and agreements were signed spanning initiatives across technology, cyber security, Ayurveda, tackling serious and organized crime, trade and investment, skills and vocational education, dairy and animal husbandry, Ganga rejuvenation and safe use of nuclear energy. This underlines the great potential of the India-UK strategic partnership. He mentioned that during the visit, a UK-India Tech Hub was established that will bring together hi-tech companies to create investment and export opportunities and provide a new platform to share critical technologies and advance policy collaboration, including on Future Mobility, Advanced Manufacturing and Healthcare AI under India’s Aspirational districts’ Programme. Awards for joint collaboration under the Newton-Bhabha fund are expected to reach £400 million by 2021. The Tech Alliance and collaborations on R&D and innovation are a manifestation of exciting vistas of cooperation in cutting edge technology that are likely to be further strengthened post Brexit.

Referring to a potential Free Trade Agreement between India and the UK, High Commissioner hoped that India and the UK will strive to get the best possible deal that benefits both the countries. He stated that a beginning has already been made during the last Joint Economic and Trade Committee (JETCO) held in January 2018 during which a report of the Joint Trade Review was submitted. A guide was prepared by Ministry of Commerce and Industry and Department of International Trade based upon the emerging lessons learned from India-UK Joint trade Review, This Joint Trade Review Guide has been hosted on the Commonwealth Secretariat website, as a resource which other Commonwealth countries can use going forward. Dwelling on bilateral trade and investment relations, High Commissioner stated while cross cutting investments in each other’s country are noteworthy, there exists great potential for increasing trade in goods and services.

High Commissioner highlighted the phenomenal achievements made by India in recent years in the field of ease of doing business and attracting FDI. In the last 4 years, India has attracted $209.83 billion as greenfield FDI. The government has set a trajectory that will ensure development for all and this also includes our partner countries. The aim is to achieve inclusive growth in India and inclusive partnerships abroad. Conceding that Brexit is a challenge, High Commissioner felt that it was also an opportunity for India to further strengthen its economic and trade relations with the UK.