December 14, 2016 1:11:19 pm
The United Kingdom wants to make London as India’s “destination of choice” for raising offshore finance, an Indian-origin British minister has said. “Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi wants to ‘Make in India’. We say: ‘Make in India, finance in the UK’,” Alok Sharma, minster in charge of Asia, said in an address to the UK India Business Council on the ‘Future of the UK-India Relationship’ in London.
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“As well as seeking to expand its role as a manufacturer and innovator, India is also rightly addressing its future infrastructure and energy needs. Many of you know the staggering amounts of capital this will require – 2.8 trillion dollars needed by 2040 to invest in energy, according to the International Energy Agency and over 1 trillion dollars in other infrastructure,” he said.
The parliamentary under-secretary in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) on Monday said the Theresa May led government wants the City of London to become India’s “destination of choice” for raising international funds.”We want Indian companies and public sector entities to see the City of London as the natural home for raising offshore finance – for quasi-sovereigns as well as corporates.”
The minister also sought to clear up what he described as “mis-perceptions and misconceptions” around the issue of visas. “First of all, there is no cap on the number of international students studying at recognised institutions in the UK. Secondly, we continue to welcome students from India – in the year to March 2016, we approved 89 per cent of Indian student visa applications,” he said.
“Moreover, Indian citizens enjoy greater access to application centres than anyone else and India is the only country where applicants can obtain a same-day visa. “We naturally want our visa regime to be as simple and efficient as possible. But we must also ensure that people return to their country of origin once their visa has expired.” To ensure that the visa regime does not hinder the commercial relationship, he said the British government wants India to be the first country to be offered the “Registered Traveller Scheme, giving business travellers expedited clearance at the UK border.”
Alok Sharma highlighted that May’s visit to India last month was “no coincidence” that it was her first overseas bilateral visit outside the European Union as PM. “It signalled the immense value we place on our existing partnership with India and the potential we see to enhance this unique relationship in the future,” he said. The Conservative Party MP pointed to the UK as India’s largest major investor, responsible for employing one in every 20 Indians and India as the UK’s third-largest investor and second largest international employment generator – responsible for over 110,000 jobs in the UK.
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