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Indians can make a 'Great Britain', says UK politician

A senior British politician has said that the country's future economic success lies on the shoulders of Indian-origin entrepreneurs who can "put the 'Great' into Great Britain".

world Updated: May 16, 2013 17:43 IST

A senior British politician has said that the country's future economic success lies on the shoulders of Indian-origin entrepreneurs who can "put the 'Great' into Great Britain".

Describing the Indian community in Britain as vibrant, Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government said, "Britain's future economic success lies on the shoulders of businessmen and businesswomen of Indian descent. We look to Indians to put the 'Great' into Great Britain."

Pickles who was speaking at the inaugural Conservative Friends of India Annual Lunch in London yesterday, also spoke about vast scope for British investment in India and Indian investment in Britain.

"We are offering India our expertise and knowhow, particularly in the fields of education, health and infrastructure development. We want Indians and Indian companies to come here. Britain has one of the best and friendliest business environments in the world. There has never been a better time to invest in Britain especially with huge projects like Cross Rail and High Speed Trains II."

Simultaneously he referred to the vibrant infrastructural growth taking place in India, saying British expertise in infrastructural development could play a major role there.

He said he had visited India many times and would go there again in a couple of weeks.

He said, "We have recently begun to realise that there is more than serendipity about our partnership. That is why we are funding curry schools to train more chefs to master the unique art of Cuisine and produce the best Chefs in the world. If someone is opening a restaurant in Delhi they should look for British trained Indian Cuisine Chefs."

Citing the success of joint collaborations like the popular Cobra Beer founded by Karan Bilimoria, Danny Boyle's Oscar winning film Slumdog Millionaire and the Arcelor Mittal Tower, he told the gathering these were "award winning combinations".

He also wanted greater involvement of British Indians in British politics.

"We have seen a big increase in the number of Conservative MPs and Councillors of British Indian background over the past few years and our party would like to see more," he said.

Others present included Conservative Party Chairman Lord Feldman, the Chief Whip George Young, Northern Ireland Secretary Teresa Villiers, Attorney General Dominic Grieve and Hugo Swire, Minister at the Foreign Office for India.

Shailesh Vara, MP and Co-Chairman of CFI, said the 2 million-strong Indian community in the UK was only 2.5 per cent of the population but its contribution to the GDP growth was 10 per cent.