Business groups and industry leaders gathered in London last night for a roundtable discussion with India’s Minister of Commerce and Industry, Suresh Prabhu.
Representatives from multinationals including Vodafone, Pernod Richard, Reckitt Benckiser and BAE Systems took part in the event. It was designed to coincide with the 12th UK-India Joint Economic and Trade Committee (JETCO) meeting, which took place in the capital earlier in the day.
Mr Y K Sinha, High Commissioner of India to the UK, was also in attendance, along with a number of officials from the UK government and British High Commission.
Addressing the event, Minister Prabhu took the opportunity to welcome the possibility of greater UK investments, and also shared details of the latest economic developments and reforms taking place in India. Businesses were also given a chance during the evening to voice any concerns and discuss future prospects.
Mr Prabhu said: “The services sector presents huge potential with several areas of collaboration for India and the UK. The two countries could also work together on manufacturing, developing global supply chains for the future. Given the transformational nature of new and dynamic technologies, we must keep in view that disruptive change can also be constructive.”
Last night’s event was jointly organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), Confederation of British Industry (CBI), UK India Business Council (UKIBC) and the High Commission of India.
Richard Heald OBE, chief executive of the UKIBC, added: “The UK-India partnership is perfect for an increasingly digital world. There is a real complementarity, as evidenced recently by the Rolls Royce-TCS collaboration on digital manufacturing; Make in India and Digital India merging. This will be the story of the 21st Century”.
Dr Gopichand Katragadda, chairman of the CII National Committee on Technology and chief technology officer at Tata Sons, welcomed UK companies to partner with Indian industry and hailed technology as the next big frontier for collaboration.
He said: “Artificial Intelligence, genomics, microbiomics, advanced materials and clean energy are transforming the future and how we look at business for addressing global, socio-economic challenges in India.
“With the UK’s prowess in the R&D ecosystem, there are significant innovation opportunities that the two countries can leverage. We welcome UK companies to explore India today and realise economies of scale and a consciousness towards inclusive development. Combining the capabilities of UK and India offers a significant opportunity to solve some of the world’s biggest problems in addition to meeting the large domestic needs.”