World Economy

India, UK Sign $13b in Deals

India, UK Sign $13b in DealsIndia, UK Sign $13b in Deals

Britain and India welcomed more than £9 billion ($13.7 billion) in commercial deals during a visit by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, but his arrival was overshadowed by protests over a perceived rise in intolerance back home.

Modi got a warm welcome by British Prime Minister David Cameron, who has tried to cultivate closer ties with India to secure business opportunities in a fast-growing economy at a time when Modi has been prioritizing other relationships, Reuters reported.

For his part, Modi appealed to businesspeople to invest in a more transparent India in a speech at the Guildhall, a historic building in the heart of London’s financial district.

While Cameron said he wanted to support Modi in his efforts to transform India with improved infrastructure, the Indian leader signaled he wanted Britain to stay in the European Union, saying the country was India’s gateway to Europe.

“We want to become your number one partner for supporting the finance needed for this ambitious plan, making London the world’s center for offshore rupee trading,” Cameron told him during a news conference, adding that plans were in place to issue more than £1 billion in bonds.

He later said in a statement: “During this visit, British and Indian companies are announcing new collaborations, together worth more than £9 billion.”

The British government listed more than 20 deals and collaborations, including a £1.3 billion ($1.98 billion) investment by Vodafone.

The two prime ministers also welcomed a package to promote clean energy worth £3.2 billion of commercial agreements, joint research programs and initiatives to share technical, scientific, and financial and policy expertise.

Before the visit, diplomats said the Indian leader was keen to buy 20 more BAE Systems Hawk trainer aircraft to be made in Bengaluru.

 Meeting Business Leaders

Modi and Cameron attended the India-UK CEOs Forum meeting Friday at Lancaster House in No. 11, Downing. The meeting saw the attendance of 40 top Indian and British business leaders, including those from Rolls Royce and Vodafone, PTI reported.

“We are confidently, consistently and ceaselessly working to ingrate our economy with the world,” said Modi in his opening remarks. Modi further said that defense manufacturing was the backbone of the ‘Make in India’ initiative.

“India and UK are economically made for each other. This relationship has to be driven by private sector CEO’s,” the prime minister said.

 Cameron said that India and UK have the political will to take the existing economic relationship between both nations forward.

Modi arrived in the UK Thursday on a three-day visit. He has since had delegation-level talks, addressed the British Parliament and the City of London, met representatives of the Sikh community and paid homage before a statue of Mahatma Gandhi.