UK foreign secy begins India visit today; tech, infrastructure deals on cards

The tech and infrastructure deals to be finalised during Truss’ two-day visit are aimed at boosting jobs and increasing green growth
UK foreign secretary Liz Truss. (REUTERS)
UK foreign secretary Liz Truss. (REUTERS)
Updated on Oct 22, 2021 10:46 AM IST
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The United Kingdom will announce a series of tech and infrastructure deals, including a £50.4 million investment to fund green tech infrastructure projects across India, during foreign secretary Liz Truss’ visit beginning Friday.

As part of the India-UK 10-year roadmap, Truss and her Indian counterpart S Jaishankar will announce the “Strategic Futures Forum”, bringing together leading figures from government, business and academia of both countries to drive closer links in key areas such as tech and security and to shape the long-term, strategic vision for the bilateral partnership.

The tech and infrastructure deals to be finalised during Truss’ two-day visit are aimed at boosting jobs and increasing green growth.

She will unveil the £50.4-million ($70 million) investment by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office’s investment arm CDC to fund green tech infrastructure projects across India through the joint Green Growth Equity Fund.

Truss will also announce an £11.5-million British investment in two venture capital funds aimed at supporting India’s transition to cleaner energy. “Both funds will return a profit to the UK taxpayer and make use of UK expertise,” a statement from the British high commission said.

There will also be an investment of £500,000 by the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) to build a new virtual network of Indian and British labs working to promote net-zero targets in key industries such as glass, cement, and metals.

In a statement ahead of her arrival in India, Truss said, “I want the UK and India to step up their partnership in critical areas like technology, investment, security and defence. India is the world’s largest democracy, a tech and economic powerhouse and a vital strategic partner for the UK.”

Closer ties between the two countries in areas such as tech and infrastructure “will deliver jobs and growth in both countries, boost developing world economies and help us promote our values on the global stage,” she added.

Truss will also outline agreements to deepen investment ties between the two sides and work together on finance and technical support packages for the developing world.

“The deals include more tech transfer and knowledge sharing with developing countries alongside heavy capital investment – a model that the UK is looking to replicate with partners around the world,” the statement said. These agreements will help drive forward the “Build Back Better World” initiative launched by G7 leaders in June to meet the huge need for clean infrastructure in the developing world.

While India has the third-highest number of tech start-ups in the world, the UK has the third-largest number of tech “unicorns” or start-ups valued at more than $1 billion.

Truss wants to strengthen Britain’s economic, technology and security links with fast-growing economies and like-minded partners and build “a network of liberty” around the globe, the statement said. “Closer ties with like-minded democracies such as India are key to that ambition,” it added.

The Roadmap 2030 for India-UK ties was finalised by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his British counterpart Boris Johnson at their virtual summit in May.

Besides Jaishankar, Truss will meet environment minister Bhupender Yadav in Delhi to discuss areas for closer collaboration.

During her meeting with Yadav, Truss is also expected to discuss climate targets and underline the importance of making concrete progress on climate change ahead of the COP26 Summit in Glasgow next month. She will note that India already leads the world in renewable technology and express her hope that New Delhi will commit to a “more ambitious Nationally Determined Contribution”.

She will then travel to Mumbai, where she will visit the UK carrier strike group, which is led by Britain’s largest warship, the aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth.

Truss will also meet Indian business leaders at a Build Back Better World roundtable in Mumbai on Saturday to boost infrastructure in the developing world.

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Thursday, December 09, 2021