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UK centre to open India chapter

A new institution in Birmingham will offer research and consultancy services with a focus on the Indian economy.

india Updated: Feb 15, 2007 14:26 IST

A new research institution is to be set up in Birmingham to offer research and consultancy services with a focus on business studies and business applications with specific application to India.

The institution, called the India Foundation for Applied Business Research, is a result of a new partnership between the Aston Business School, which is part of the Aston University, and the Institute of Asian Businesses. Birmingham will be the hub of the India Foundation and the team at Aston Business School will co-ordinate research and studies in India, as well as the UK and the US which have become two of the most important trading partners with the sub-continent.

Reports from Birmingham say that the new institution has the backing of the Indian High Commission and a meeting is scheduled for Feb 26 to discuss the next stage of the Foundation's progress.

John Saunders, head of Aston Business School, told the Birmingham Post: "This country has long shared its history with India, which is now becoming one of the largest and fastest-growing economies in the world."

"Birmingham is well situated to take advantage of that trend, as is Aston Business School. For a long time we have had a number of people doing excellent work on Indian businesses and the centre provides a terrific opportunity to benefit all businesses and managers on both continents."

The reports say that the Foundation will be led by senior academic Pawan Budhwar, who will be assisted by a postgraduate research team.

Professor Michael West, head of research at ABS, told the paper: "Asian business is at the heart of the world and regional economy and we want to ensure we are helping this develop further."

"Through the establishment of this Foundation, we aim to conduct rigorous research that will answer key questions Asian business leaders face about the effectiveness of their businesses."

Meanwhile, trade and industry leaders in Birmingham believe that the key west Midlands town needs to have long-haul flights to India and China to help business growth in the region. Property consultant Mike Eagleton told the local media: "The lack of direct flights into two of the greatest emerging economies of the world will hamper the demand for quality office space, not just along the M42 corridor but also in Birmingham city centre."

"Expansion of the airport to allow long-haul flights from Birmingham to China, India and the West Coast of the USA should be a priority if Birmingham is to build closer links and generate economic benefits with the emerging Tiger and Dragon economies."

"The property industry has a vested interest in ensuring that the Birmingham region can offer Indian and Chinese companies some of the finest locations for business in the UK, but without direct airline links it is at a disadvantage."

Airport spokesman John Morris said: "We can serve Delhi with Air India but other than that, the radius is constrained. Our board has now given the go-ahead for us to prepare a planning application for a runway extension."

"By giving Birmingham global connectivity it will be in a position to make the region more competitive."