The British minister charged with developing trade with India has hailed the “thriving” investment relationship between the two countries.
Addressing a packed gathering of peers, business leaders, diplomats and members of the Indian Diaspora in the UK at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London on Tuesday, Gregory Barker MP, the Minister for Business Engagement with India thanked the hundreds of Indian firms that have contributed to Britain’s economic revival following the 2008 global financial crisis.
“More Indian investment now comes to the UK than almost all of the European Union combined. There is an increasingly natural fit between the UK and Indian economies of the 21st Century”, Mr Barker said.
“There are now over 900 Indian companies in the UK and the contribution that companies like Tata have made to the resurgence of the British economy, in particular the manufacturing sector, is immense.
This relationship is also a profitable, reciprocal one. British companies like JCB and British Petroleum, which is now the largest investor in the Indian energy sector, are contributing to the development of India”, the Minister told guests at the reception organized by the Indian High Commission in London celebrating India’s Republic Day.
Mr Barker, the government’s Minister of State for Energy and Climate Change, was also made the “Minister of Business Engagement with India” given the vital trade relationship between the two countries. Bilateral trade between India and the UK surpassed $12 billion in 2012 and that figure is expected to double in 2015.
As part of Prime Minister David Cameron’s successful trade mission to India in February 2013, Mr Barker spearheaded efforts to engage British public and private sector companies in India’s proposed Mumbai-Bangalore economic corridor.
Mr Barker described the project as the “most important development in the business relationship between India and the UK”.
“The Mumbai-Bangalore economic corridor will be a beacon of commercially viable and sustainable development for the entire world”, he added.
The $50 billion project will connect India’s financial and technology hubs and create a staggering 2.5 million jobs.
Modelled on similar trade areas in the US north east and the famed Hong Kong-Guangdong corridor, the Mumbai-Bangalore economic zone is expected to contribute more than a tenth of India’s GDP in years to come.