This week, the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) signed an MoU with the UK Design Council to deepen design and innovation partnerships between the UK and India. The organisation hosted the Indian Mission on Design and Advanced Technologies to the UK between 18-22 September. The objectives of the trip are: to take away key learnings from the opportunities and potential of these institutions/organisations for collaboration, joint research, trade, and inward investment and to explore partnerships, tech transfer, knowledge exchange, and joint projects in a four-city tour- London, Manchester, Coventry, Bristol.
"The CII Indian Mission on Design and Advanced Technologies is keen to explore knowledge exchange, cooperation and support between India and the UK to further the research priorities in advanced materials, robust technology partnerships, and design innovation and investment for long-term growth and sustainability objectives,” Dr Debashish Bhattacharjee, Vice President, Technology & R&D Tata Steel and Chairman, CII National Task Force on Advanced Materials told the newsweekly.
Speaking to us, Udayant Malhoutra, CEO & Managing Director Dynamatic Technologies Limited and Chairman, CII National Committee on Design & Innovation said, “The purpose of the CII Indian Mission on Design and Advanced Technologies to UK is to primarily engage in discussions with the UK’s premier institutions and its key design organisations, to deepen knowledge gained and leverage connections between Indian and British industry & design institutions for the growth of design, innovation and advanced technologies."
In a joint and exclusive interview with Asian Voice, Dr Debashish Bhattacharjee and Udayant Malhoutra spoke about this MoU and the UK-India partnership.
1. Tell us about the four-city tour. How is it going to strengthen the UK-India relationship?
The Indian Mission on Design & Advanced Technologies to UK organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry aims to explore strengths and areas of collaboration between industries of UK and India. Prospective areas of mutual interest and collaboration are being identified through the mission’s visit to London Design Festival. At the same time, the mission visits some of the UK’s premier institutions. This will go a long way in deepening the knowledge and leveraging the connections for the benefit of Indian and UK industries.
2. What does this exchange of knowledge mean for the two countries?
India offers strengths in terms of one of the fastest growing economies, a huge research and academia talent pool and a large English-speaking population. The mission will help understand some of the best practices for application in the Indian design and technology ecosystem. At the same time, the broader purpose is to promote and take Indian high-tech products and indigenous products at the global level.
3. What goes into organising such an endeavour and also selecting the right partners such that both countries can benefit?
It is fairly natural and easy as both the Indian and UK sides share a very strong partnership. There are tremendous scope of opportunities and partnerships and the post-pandemic times are showing us that global issues need global collaboration for solutions.
4. Why is India a strategic partner for the UK when it comes to design and technology?
India is in the process of identifying key technology areas and innovation domains for focus. Many of these emerging and critical technologies are equally relevant for the UK and its S&T leadership aspirations. Eg. design and advanced materials, both are much relevant for India as well as the UK. India and UK are natural partners with a strong understanding of issues and opportunities in each other's ecosystems.
5. Do you think this event will further help in speeding up the UK-India FTA?
I personally believe the delegation is perfectly timed when the UK and India are in advanced stages of negotiations for the free trade agreement, and the UK PM’s highly successful visit to India for the New Delhi G20 Summit. We saw very positive participation from the UK on the sidelines of the B20 Summit that CII hosted as the B20 Secretariat. Both countries are committed to come to agreements covering mutual interests. CII will continue to contribute and bring value to the table for evolving more understanding between the countries through such bilateral missions.