Britain to double flights to India
Britain plans to double the number of flights from the weekly 19 to Indian destinations by next year in its effort to boost trade ties.
With about 30 percent increase in multiple entry visas to Indians, taking the total number of visas to 300,000 this year, the demand for more flights between the two countries was growing, Michael Arthur, British high commissioner to India, told reporters.
His country was considering an increase in the multiple entry visa quota to India next year from the present level, Arthur said on the sidelines of the ongoing IT.Com event.
"The number of flights between India and Britain will go up to 40 from the summer of 2005. Besides the four metros, Bangalore, Kochi and Hyderabad will be directly connected to London," he said.
Claiming the number of visas issued to Indians by his government was more than twice given to any other country, Arthur said the recent visit of the Indian prime minister to London had led to more business initiatives between the two countries.
"The declaration signed by the prime ministers of the two countries in September has created opportunities for more tie-ups in the knowledge sectors spanning IT, biotech and research and development in science and technology," Arthur said.
"With about 60 percent of the Indian investments to Europe coming into Britain, more Indian firms are using our country as a spring board to Europe."
Though Indian investments in Britain had increased by 47 percent in the last fiscal (2003-04), the scale of investments is yet to match that of Britain in India, which is the second largest foreign investment in the country, he said.
In the rapidly growing investment scenario in Britain, India ranks as the eighth biggest. The British Trade and Investment Board ranks a country's investment in its economy by factoring the number of firms and the payroll offered than the actual money pumped into the business, according to him.
Launching "Infinite possibilities: a guide to establishing a presence in the UK", brought out by the British Trade and Investment Publication, Arthur said the guide would be a primer for prospective investors looking at Britain to promote business.
Lauding the role of Indian firms in his country, Arthur said they were ahead of their Chinese counterparts in investments made in Britain last year.
"Out of the 811 new project investments last year, Indian firms invested in 28 projects against 23 projects by Chinese firms. Two-thirds of the investment was in the IT sector. Investments in the biotech sector have also started trickling in," Arthur said.