Modi’s Britain visit important economically: Jaishankar

New Delhi, Nov 10 (IANS) Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Britain from November 12 will have important economic implications for India, Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar said on Tuesday.

Addressing a pre-departure media briefing here, he said that in terms of bilateral relationship, India has a strategic relationship with Britain for 11 years now.

“The UK and India are leading investors in each other’s countries. Our ballpark figure for UK investments in India is in excess of $22 billion. It amounts to 9 percent of the current FDI level in India,” he said.

Stating that it was much harder to get Indian investment figures in Britain, he said that the working assumption was around $500-600 million per year for the last few years.

“We have 122 FDI investments in the UK. We are a significant job creator there,” Jaishankar said.

Terming Britain a significant trade partner of India, he said that “we have almost $18 billion worth of trade”.

“We have trade in services of $4 billion-plus,” the foreign secretary said.

“We have a very robust partnership in science and technology, education, healthcare, culture. We have 800 Indian companies operating in the UK.”

He said that among other issues, the discussions between the two countries would aim at deepening the economic engagement.

“You will see business agreements some of which would be announced at the business event during the visit,” Jaishankar said.

According to him, the prime minister’s business engagements would include a meeting of the CEOs’ forum of the two countries which has been reconstituted as also an important address to the finance and economic sectors of Britain.

Prime Minister Modi, in a series of Facebook posts, stressed the economic importance of his visit.

“My visit is aimed at strengthening cooperation with a traditional friend that is not only a major economic partner of India but also one of the leading economic players of the world,” he wrote.

Terming Britain one of the fastest growing G-7 economies and home to a strong financial services sector, he stated that country “is known for its innovative zeal and for its creative industries”.

“You would be interested to know that UK has the largest diplomatic presence in India and is the third largest source of foreign investment in our country. India too is the third largest source of FDI (in terms of the number of projects) in UK. I see immense scope for our economic and trade relations to improve and this will benefit both our economies.”

To explore avenues of more effective economic cooperation, Modi said he would interact with CEOs at a roundtable in London.

“I always look forward to such discussions because it entails frank dialogue and constructive feedback from investors. My message to the business community is clear – come, make use of the opportunities India is offering and invest in India,” he stated.

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