India-UK economic ties strong, will grow stronger: Modi

London, Nov 12 (IANS) India and the UK have much more potential to push bilateral economic ties than being the third largest investor in each other’s country, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Thursday, and called upon the <strong class=’StrictlyAutoTagBold’>British industry to seize the opportunities his country presents both in size and scale.

“The United Kingdom is the third largest investor in India behind Singapore and Mauritius. India is the third largest source of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) projects in the United Kingdom. Indians invest more in Britain than in the rest of European Union combined,” <strong class=’StrictlyAutoTagBold’>the prime minister told the <strong class=’StrictlyAutoTagBold’>British parliament.

“It is not because they want to save on interpretation costs but because they find an environment that is welcoming and familiar,” Modi said, adding: “It is also natural and inevitable that our economic ties will grow by leaps and bounds. We will form unbeatable partnerships, if we combine our unique strengths and the size and scale of opportunities in India.”

According to the CII, the cumulative equity investment from the UK to India between January 2003 and August 2015 amounted to $54.35 billion, while that by Indian companies in the UK was worth $11.3 billion.

The prime minister was particularly keen that the two countries cooperate in the area of clean energy, and said that on its part, India has set for itself an ambitious target of 175 GW of additional capacity in renewable <strong class=’StrictlyAutoTagBold’>energy by 2022 and a reduction in emission intensity of 33-35 percent by 2030 as par of a comprehensive strategy.

“I have also proposed to launch during the COP 21 meeting (scheduled during November-December in Paris under the UN’s climate change framework), an International Solar Alliance to make solar <strong class=’StrictlyAutoTagBold’>energy an integral part of our lives, even in the most unconnected villages,” <strong class=’StrictlyAutoTagBold’>the prime minister said.

“In Britain, you are more likely to use an umbrella against rain than the sun. But, my team defined the membership of the Solar Alliance in more precise terms: you have to be located within the Tropics. And, we are pleased that the UK qualifies! So, we look forward to an innovative Britain as a valuable partner in this endeavour,” he said.

“Prime Minister (David) Cameron and I are, indeed, very pleased that cooperation on affordable and accessible clean <strong class=’StrictlyAutoTagBold’>energy is an important pillar of our relations.”

Modi also spoke of how well entrenched <strong class=’StrictlyAutoTagBold’>India Inc was in Britain, taking the example of India’s largest business house, the Tata Group.

“It takes an Indian icon, Tata, to run a <strong class=’StrictlyAutoTagBold’>British icon and become your nation’s largest private sector employer,” he said.

“There are many things on which it is hard to tell anymore if they are <strong class=’StrictlyAutoTagBold’>British or Indian: The Jaguar or the Scotland Yard, for example. The Brooke Bond tea or my friend late Lord Ghulam Nun’s curry.”

The Indian prime minister said it was only natural and inevitable for India-Britain economic relations to grow by leaps and bounds.

“We will see more investment and trade. We will open new doors in the services sector. We will collaborate more – here and in India – in defence equipment and technology. We will work together on renewable and nuclear energy,” he said.

“We will explore the mysteries of science and harness the power of technology and innovation. We will realise the opportunities of the digital world. Our youth will learn more from — and with — each other.”

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