Indian investments in Britain slipped sharply from second to fourth place last year, according to British government figures that confirmed a decline exposed by the Hindustan Times.
Indian projects in Britain fell from 108 in 2008-09 to 92 in 2009-10. The number of jobs resulting from these projects was just over 5,800 in 2009-10, compared to nearly 8,000 the year before.
Although Britain’s Business Minister Vince Cable sought to put a gloss on the slide, saying it was temporary, the figures are alarming enough to warrant a discussion when Cable heads for India later this month as part of a high-powered team led by Prime Minister David Cameron. “It’s a temporary hiccup,” Cable told HT.
Although the figures released on Wednesday were for inward investment into Britain, the reverse flow has also seen a decline — a major source of worry for Indian government and business leaders. British investments fell nearly 27% from $1.176 billion in 2007-08 to $864 million in 2008-09, according to Indian figures reported by HT last month.
“A special relationship is a two-way exercise, and there are issues [of protectionism] on both sides that will need to be resolved, especially for the sake of small and medium sized enterprises,” Hari Bhartia, president of the Confederation of Indian Industries, said during a recent visit to Britain leading a business delegation.