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UK Investment Minister ‘Very Optimistic’ about Free Trade Agreement with India

NITI Ayog CEO, Indian High Commissioner to UK make strong pitch to invest to India at UK-India Week 2023. City of London & India Global Forum Join Hands to Drive Collaboration in Sustainable Infrastructure Investment in India

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Speaking at the ‘UK-India Infrastructure Summit‘ hosted by City of London in association with India Global Forum, UK Investment Minister Lord Dominic Johnson, underscored the importance of the Free Trade deal for both UK and India, while steering clear of committing to a timeframe. Johnson said, “I’m very optimistic because I think it is very important to do a trade deal for both sides… and it’s really important for business to express their support for such a deal because it’s about allowing businesses to function more effectively with greater profits, wealth and security for the world.”

“From the perspective of British business in India, I will continue to push for the simplification of interstate activities in terms of entrepreneurial regulations between states that are selling goods and services. And, I will continue to push for greater work when it comes to a free trade, because that that will help us to put more money into growing the economy to provide the jobs for the next generation.”
Held the iconic Mansion House under the theme ‘Financing a Sustainable Future’, the summit highlighted the immense scope and potential for investment in sustainable infrastructure development in India, and London’s expertise in meeting India’s growing demand for green finance.

Founder and Chairman, IGF, Manoj Ladwa in his address said, “As the fastest growing major economy in the world, and the most populous, India has huge aspirations and equally huge responsibilities.  The rapid building of high quality sustainable physical and digital infrastructure will be critical to achieving India’s growth trajectory, as well as balancing its net zero commitments.”

Vikram Doraiswami, High Commissioner of India to the UK, and B.V.R Subrahmanyam, CEO, NITI Aayog made a strong case for the City of London investing in sustainable infrastructure in India, while showcasing recent policy, legislative and social changes in India.

Doraiswami remarked, “The cause of investing in India has never been a better one. That is in other words, there is no better reason for you to invest in India —not just for profit, but also for the social benefit and the environmental benefit; for the totality. And I would argue that your interests are best served in aligning with us in making sure that the transformation of India happens in a way that does not replicate any of the faults of the past.”

“UK particularly the City of London has excellent capabilities in structuring and funnelling finance where it is needed. UK has demonstrated technological capabilities while India is at the frontiers of innovation. Combining technology with financing would enhance the cooperation,” said Subrahmanyam.

Bullish on India, Lord Jitesh Gadhia, Member House of Lords, Member of the Court of Directors, Bank of England said, “India has a tailwind which is a combination of economics, demographics and political stability.” Referring to Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer’s remarks on the FTA at India Global Forum, he said, “ The statement on FTA is a good sign; it proves whatever the electoral outcome in Britain, the Indian relationship is strategic.”

Commenting on the four areas of focus for Adani Green Energy Limited, CEO Amit Singh, remarked, “Securing your resources, developing a supplier ecosystem that is diverse, application of technology, and doing it through the lens of sustainability.”

Nicholas Lyons, the Lord Mayor of the City of London, emphasised London’s unparalleled global expertise in sustainable finance and infrastructure financing solutions. “UK should be a partner of choice for India for its infrastructure needs; the City of London & the UK can help India into the largest & most diversified global capital pools on the best possible terms.”

“We have up to 4bn pounds of capacity to use in India,” said Caroline Healy, Deputy Director – International Relations, UK Export Finance. “My key message is that UK Export Finance wants to do more business in India, we’ve got capacity and we’ve got the product suite.”

The summit saw engaging discussions on addressing roadblocks to finance flows, sectoral challenges, innovative resource mobilisation, and strategies to accelerate sustainable infrastructure development. The discussions delved into the challenges in the renewables sector, harnessing digital technologies, and promoting smart and green cities. As laid out in Roadmap 2030, this collaboration constitutes a critical component of the India-UK partnership in addressing climate change.

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