The Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg,is on a three-day visit to India with a 40-strong trade delegation to take advantage of the opportunities presented by the new Indian government’s focus on economic growth. He will be joined by Ed Davey, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change. It is the first high-level trade mission to India since Prime Minister Narendra Modi was elected in May.
The Deputy Prime Minister will meet Prime Minister Modi and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley during the first day of his visit on Monday. He and the delegation will spend a day in New Delhi, a day in Mumbai and a day in Bangalore. Ed Davey will also travel separately to Hyderabad on Wednesday, making him the first British Minister to engage with the new state of Telangana created in June. Throughout his programme, Ed Davey will explore opportunities for UK companies and strengthen collaboration on energy and climate change.
The delegation includes major British businesses from the retail, aerospace and education sectors, who will be signing deals and exploring new opportunities with their Indian counterparts. The Indian retail sector is expected to grow by 25 per cent a year over the next two years, and the delegation will be hoping to take advantage of an aerospace market which is expected to be among top three in the world over the next ten years, with seven per cent annual growth.
During the visit, the Deputy Prime Minister will also be celebrating the strong cultural links between the UK and India, with an expansion of student exchange programmes and visits to schools and universities in Delhi and Mumbai.
The Deputy Prime Minister said:
“I am delighted to be leading the first trade delegation to India since the election of the new government. Prime Minister Modi has been very clear that his absolute priority is to get the wheels of the Indian economy moving, to create more jobs, boost trade and pursue greater prosperity.
“There is already £16 billion of trade every year between India and the UK. India invests more in the UK than it does in the rest of the European Union combined, and no country in the G20 invests more in India than Britain does.
“In addition, there are the historic cultural links. The rich tapestry of British community, business, cultural and sporting life is hugely enriched by our links with India. Thousands of students take part in exchange programmes such as the UK-India Education and Research Initiative, and I look forward to seeing how we can forge even deeper and stronger bonds between our people.”
Lord Dholakia will also be joining the business delegation in a new role as the Deputy Prime Minister’s India Business Adviser. In this unpaid role, he will have responsibility for supporting the business leaders travelling in the delegation and helping them to achieve their commercial objectives for the visit. He will ensure that new deals and business links are followed through to a successful outcome once the visit is over.