Making a high-profile pitch for British investment in India, Union finance minister Arun Jaitley on Friday addressed a series of events attended by leading business representatives and discussed the Insurance Bill with Chancellor George Osborne.
The bill, which was passed in India’s parliament this week, will “create opportunities for UK insurers in India and deepend UK-India financial and economic links”, an official release issued after the meeting with Osborne said.
Jaitley, who will join Prime Minister David Cameron at the unveiling ceremony of Mahatma Gandhi’s statue at Parliament Square on Saturday, met Prince Charles and addressed business representatives at the London Stock Exchange, JP Morgan India Insights, inaugurated a branch of Union Bank of India, and pitched India before leading investors at an event organised by FICCI and the UK-India Business Council.
The recent USD 1.6 billion tax notice to Cairn Energy in India is expected to figure in Jaitley’s talks in London. Foreign secretary Philip Hammond has already taken it up with Jaitley during the former’s visit to New Delhi this week.
Osborne welcomed the announcement that Mumbai-based manufacturing and energy firm Indsur Group had invested £25 million in their UK operations, which include the newly acquired Newcastle-based thermal engineering firm, Henderson Site Services.
The firm will also invest in upgrading and other new acquisitions over six months as part of Indsur Group's consolidation and investments in the UK.
Osborne also announced a new scholarship for Indian finance professionals to study in the UK. The Chevening Financial Services Leadership course will be the first of its kind and help strengthen future financial ties between the two countries, while further cementing Britain’s position as the centre for global finance.
Official sources said that Jaitley and Osborne discussed the progress made since 2010 in strengthening and deepening co-operation between Britain and India on economic and financial issues, including increased inward investment in each other’s economies.
The UK is now the biggest major investor in India in the G20, and India invests more in the UK than it does in the rest of the EU combined.
Osborne said: "Building on our already strong relationship with India has been a key priority of this government. At the heart of our long term economic plan is developing closer links with fast-growing emerging markets like India – links that benefit both countries in terms of growth and jobs”.
He added: “Together we will celebrate the unveiling of the Gandhi statue in Parliament Square, which I announced on my visit to India last July on a trip to see Prime Minister Modi. I’m delighted work has progressed so quickly and honoured that Finance Minister Jaitley is here to unveil this symbolic statue.”