New Delhi, Dec 9 (KNN) UK’s Secretary of State (Minister) for business, innovation and skills, Vince Cable is currently on a four day visit to India to explore business opportunities and strengthen existing partnerships in engineering, education skills and innovation.
The Minister has been accompanied by a 25 member UK business delegation who will visit four cities from December-9 to 12, according to a British High Commission release.
“We have always had a special relationship between our countries and I am keen to push business collaboration much further as we work towards doubling trade with India by 2015,” said a British High Commission release quoting Cable.
On expectations of the visit, “Economic recovery remains a central priority for the UK and our industrial strategy is a key element in giving businesses the confidence to invest. Trade has lagged in recent years but I am delighted that UK exports to India have grown by some 20 per cent this year,” the Minister said.
Cable will co-chair the annual UK-India Joint Economic and Trade Committee (JETCO) with the Indian Union Minister for Commerce and Industry, Anand Sharma here today.
Cable will also meet Union Minister for Finance P Chidambaram and other senior government officials and ministers. He will also address businesses and participate in a panel discussion at FICCI; and meet senior Indian businesses and investors.
Other places on the group’s itinerary are Coimbatore (Tuesday), Chennai (Wednesday) and Bangalore (Thursday) - each fast growing regional cities with considerable growth potential for UK companies.
With regard to investments, “UK firms are the largest European investors in India and there is more Indian investment in the UK than the rest of the EU combined, led by Tata,” he said.
In Coimbatore, the Minister will interact with young entrepreneurs at the PSG STEP campus; to discover the dynamic spirit of commerce that is the lifeblood of the city. He will also explore UK/India health partnerships, including a visit to the G Kuppuswamy Naidu Memorial Hospital which works with the INDOX Cancer Research Network in Oxford. He will meet senior local business leaders, and visit the IL&FS Skills Development Corporation (ISDC) which has partnered with various UK organisations including Cambridge English (Part of the University of Cambridge), and Edexcel (a Pearson company - UK's largest academic and vocational qualifications and testing provider).
While in Chennai, Cable will inaugurate the "GREAT British Festival" which will showcase the best of UK companies operating in India and generate new business to business partnerships, including by SMEs. Other than meeting select Indian and UK leaders, he will visit the exciting Technical Welding Institute (TWI) which is expanding its advanced engineering training operations in India. He will also visit Tata Consultancy Services, one of the earliest and largest investors in the UK, for a video-conference with UK SMEs.
As far as Bangalore is concerned, the minister will visit the Central Manufacturing Technology Institute (CMTI) to promote the UK as a world-class manufacturing destination and promote UK-India collaboration in manufacturing. He will also visit Dynamatic Technologies Ltd and International Aerospace Manufacturing Pvt Ltd (IAMPL), both of which are examples of UK-India partnership in advances engineering.
The Minister will meet the winners of the Bangalore-Cambridge Biotech Innovation Contest - Jubilant Biosys and Metaome Science Informatics Ltd UK. The competition was launched by the Science and Innovation Network in September, to find Bangalore’s most innovative biotech or Medtech Company looking to expand internationally. The winners will get a two week visit to Cambridge to explore the opportunity to set up there.
During the visit Cable will sign a new £ 180 million repayment guarantee deal underwritten by UK Export Finance (UKEF) and coordinated by HSBC which will support Indian company Reliance Industries Limited to place up to 30 service and equipment contracts with UK companies for their Jamnagar and Dahej oil refineries.
A number of other agreements will be announced during the visit which includes a joint platform to support business by the UK India Business Council and UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) to help UK small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) access pre-approved service providers.
Further, Indian-based online and mobile search service Zomato intends to invest a further USD 1 million in Scotland over the next year, set up teams across key UK cities and make the UK the headquarters of its European operations. Newcastle, Leeds and Bristol are amongst the cities being looked into.
Other agreements likely to be signed have to do with the Technical Welding Institute, a Cambridge-based engineering firm, which is opening new training facilities in Mumbai, Trichy and Cochin; and Indian company Dynamatics Technologies which have a UK plant that has won recent orders worth USD 250 million over five years.