Discussing UK-India trade relations with FICCI delegates

Rani Singh Monday 16th March 2015 16:01 EDT

FICCI, the High Commission of India and the UKIBC organised an exclusive event to hear from Shri Arun Jaitley on Union Budget of India. A high-level CEOs delegation led by FICCI President Dr Jyotsna Suri was present. I was privileged to interview a selected few of the delegates, who discussed the future of UK-India trade relations with Asian Voice.

Dr Jyotsna Suri-President of FICCI

Chair and MD of Lalit Suri Hospitality Group. It has hotels all over India and one opening in 2016 just by Tower Bridge, to be called the Lalit London.

“UK-India Trade relations are quite positive. From our interaction over the past year, I find there’s more and more UK interest in India. Of course Indian businesses are already quite established in the UK.

I see trade relations as good. A few challenges, here and there, are being looked into.

The present government is focused on a development agenda and is trying to handle every challenge in a positive way.

There’s a question over retrospective taxes. They have made announcements that there won’t be such incidents again. I’m talking about the Vodafone case. They’re not really challenges anyway; it was more like a one-off.

I’d like more UK investment into India in education, the health sector, and infrastructure areas.”


Harshavardhan Neotia, President and Chairman of Ambuja Neotia Holdings Pvt. Ltd

The next FICCI President and Chairman of Ambuja Neotia Holdings pvt. Ltd. The group handles real estate development, housing, hospitality, and health care. Recently, it was granted permission to set up a private hospital in West Bengal.

“UK-India trade relations are very encouraging and promising. There’s a renewed optimism about prospects in India post the recent national elections. The government is also taking a lot of proactive steps to encourage investment and to ease doing business.

It is still a work in progress. Already we see initiatives being taken and are confident that they will bear fruit.

The UK and India have had a long relationship; more importantly, a strong commercial relationship. So with these new initiatives I see them getting a further fillip and, going forward, lots of opportunities for investments in both countries.

I think the UK has been fairly welcoming of Indian investment and there are opportunities for Indian businessmen to work here. I believe they contribute significantly to this part of the world.

And the UK, with its historic links with India, has the opportunity to provide us with capital and technologies on certain fronts. It’s a win-win relationship.”

Patricia Hewitt, Chair of UK India Business Council

Patricia Hewitt gave us an interview straight after the event Friday 13th March arranged by UKIBC and FICCI at the Institute of Engineers in which Finance Minister Arun Jaitley was the Chief Guest. Here is what Mrs Hewitt said.

“One of the long-standing British investors in India said to me today that at the age of 70 he was more optimistic about India than at any time previously.

India is at an extraordinary turning point. As Minister Arun Jaitley implied, what is happening now is as important as the first opening up of India in the 1990s.

There are strong trade relations between the UK and India. UK is the largest G20 investor in India. India is investing more in the UK than the whole of the rest of Europe put together.

Nonetheless there is so much potential to do far more investment, far more trade, far more business building and job growth between the two countries.

I’m optimistic. Minister Jaitley’s visit and speech will confirm optimism among British business leaders, many investors, financial institutions and businesses.

BUPA is the first foreign insurer to announce that they will avail themselves of the new raised limit for FDI in insurance.

Rolls Royce this evening asked how they could continue to strengthen their 80 year old investment in and 60 year old partnership with India.

There are 700 companies in India, many planning to do more, and many more looking at India with new eyes.”

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