India and the UK will ink more than GBP 1 billion (Rs 83,00 crore) of business deals during the three-day visit of British Prime Minister Theresa May, who is here on her first bilateral outside Europe since assuming office in July. Describing her talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi as”good and productive”, May said as leaders, they both were working to improve the livelihoods of their citizens – creating jobs, developing skills, investing in infrastructure and supporting the technologies of the future.
Talking about Modi’s vision of smart cities, May said they have agreed on a new partnership that will bring together government, investors and experts to work together on urban development, unlocking opportunities worth GBP 2 billion for British businesses over the next five years. This will focus on the dynamic state of Madhya Pradesh – with plans for more smart cities than anywhere else – and the historic city of Varanasi.
Take the capital that is required for India’s infrastructure – since the launch of the first masala bond in London in July, rupee-denominated bonds worth over GBP 900 million have now been issued, the British PM said. “And we expect a further 4 bonds with a total value of GBP 600 million to be issued in the next 3 months. This is a vote of confidence in India’s growth story. And it’s a vote of confidence in London as the world’s leading financial centre.
“Alongside this, the UK has agreed to invest GBP 120 million in a joint fund that will lever private sector investment from the City of London to finance Indian infrastructure. “So, the potential to expand the commercial opportunities for both our countries is huge. On this visit alone, more than GBP 1 billion of business deals will be signed.”
Noting that both India and the UK were firm supporters of free trade who want to be great exporting nations, May said they need to work together, for the long haul, to break down the barriers to trade and investment. “We will achieve this through the strong bonds that exist between our people, through British and Indian businesses working together, but most of all we will accomplish this because Prime Minister Modi and I are personally committed to investing in this relationship and turning this vision into a reality. I look forward to establishing a unique friendship and working together for the benefit of both our countries,” she said.
The UK and India have agreed on a new programme of cooperation to strengthen the protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights, which provides greater certainty for business, May said, adding and the UK will share technical expertise on issues such as deregulation and tax to help make India an easier place to do business.