India UK Relations: Latest Developments

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Prime Minister David Cameron met in London on 12-13 November. The two Prime Ministers celebrated the growing strength, breadth and depth of the relations between the two countries.

The two Prime Ministers endorsed a “Vision Statement” setting out the fundamental principles on which the UK-India partnership is built, and outlining a roadmap for deepening co-operation.

They resolved to hold biennial PM-level summits to advance the partnership. They also resolved to agree on a new Defence and International Security Partnership which will intensify cooperation on defence and security, including cyber-security, counter-terrorism and maritime security.

The two Prime Ministers also agreed to scale up bilateral cooperation to a global partnership for development through a “Statement of Intent on Partnership for Cooperation in Third Countries” which will facilitate working together to benefit third country partners by assisting them in addressing their development challenges in a wholly demand driven manner.

Prime Minister Cameron reaffirmed the UK’s commitment to a reformed United Nations Security Council with India as a Permanent Member, and to enhancing India’s voice in international financial institutions.

The two Prime Ministers noted with satisfaction, the progress made at the 2015 India-UK Cyber Dialogue. They supported an open, inclusive, transparent, and multi-stakeholder system of internet governance and welcomed the ongoing review of the World Summit on the Information Society by the United Nations General Assembly.

march 2016 current affairsThey hailed the strength of the economic partnership between India and the UK: India already invests more in the UK than in the rest of the EU combined, and the UK is the largest G20 investor in India. They committed to further strengthening the economic relationship, including through deepening the bilateral trade and investment relationship, and agreed that Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne will drive this forward in their forthcoming Economic and Financial Dialogue.

The two Prime Ministers agreed that the City of London should play an important role in channelling investment into infrastructure projects in India including in the railways sector, laying the foundation for a long-term strategic partnership that leverages the capital and expertise of the City of London to finance India’s continued rapid growth.

In this context, they also welcomed the announcements by HDFC, Bharti Airtel, State Bank of India and Yes Bank to raise finance through the City of London which also opens up the opportunity for the Indian private sector to raise capital for their investment and growth.

The two Prime Ministers welcomed a long-term strategic partnership between India and the UK on the former’s flagship infrastructure investment initiative, the National Infrastructure Investment Fund (NIIF), and announced the setting up of a India-UK partnership fund under the umbrella of the NIIF. The collaboration will help bring global investors through the City of London to help finance Indian infrastructure in a sustainable way, further supporting India’s rapid growth.

Prime Minister Modi and Prime Minister Cameron welcomed the ongoing collaboration by the India-UK Financial Partnership led by key industry figures on both sides.

The two Prime Ministers welcomed the creation of a new Chevening Financial Services course, sponsored by Standard Chartered, aimed at mid-career professionals wanting to study in the UK.

The two Prime Ministers recognised the importance of infrastructure for sustainable development and launched India’s first Low Income State Infrastructure Equity Partnership with co-investment from the UK Department of International Development and the State Bank of India. This aims to provide equity partnerships for small infrastructure development in sectors like water & sanitation, clean energy and urban infrastructure.

Prime Minister Modi noted the partnership of UK and India in efforts to improve the Ease of Doing Business. They announced a new Ease of Doing Business Partnership including several different strands of work which will provide impetus to greater investments.

The two Prime Ministers welcomed the first meeting of the reconstituted India-UK CEOs Forum. This Forum will be tasked with advising the Prime Ministers about the trade and investment opportunities and challenges.

Prime Minister Cameron welcomed a new fast track mechanism by DIPP for UK investments into and trade with India. The two Prime Ministers acknowledged the need for technical cooperation between the offices of both the countries on Patents, Trademarks and Designs.

Prime Minister Modi appreciated the advances made by UK in rail project management and operations. The two Leaders welcomed the MoU on Technical Co-operation in the Rail sector and acknowledged the potential business opportunities for the rail industry.

Prime Minister Modi announced the Government of India’s intention to launch the first government-backed rupee bond in London.

Prime Ministers Cameron and Modi noted the deep and fruitful business relationship between the UK and India and welcomed the £9.2 Billion of commercial deals between the UK and India announced during the visit.

The UK has accounted for 56% of total foreign direct investment in India during the last 15 years. Indian companies employ 110,000 people in the UK.

The two Prime Ministers announced three UK-India city partnerships with Indore, Pune and Amaravati to support India’s ambitious urban development goals through technical assistance, expertise sharing and business engagement.

The two Prime Ministers launched a new Thames/Ganga partnership for healthy river systems. This partnership will consist of a collaborative programme of research and innovation to enable the sustainable management of water resources in the Ganga basin and a policy expert exchange in 2016 supported by the UK Water Partnership.

Under the new UK-India Skills pledge, 11 UK companies have committed to support skills development in India. Together, the UK government and UK businesses will establish new “Centres of Excellence” in key sectors, starting with a centre for Automotive and Advanced Engineering in Pune.

The two Prime Ministers announced that 2016 would be the UK-India year of Education, Research and Innovation. This will highlight the strengths of the bilateral relationship, drive further collaboration, including a range of digital technology enabled education and training initiatives, so that both countries create a new 21st century framework as partners in education, research and innovation partners, in the global context.

Committed to promote further joint research partnerships, the two Prime Ministers noted with satisfaction, the planned academic exchange which would enable access for Indian scientists to the Neutron Facility at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in Oxford University.

They welcomed the establishment of a Newton-Bhabha fund for joint research, capacity building and translation, noting that joint investment in UK-India research has grown from less than £1 million in 2008 to over £200 million.

New substantial investments include multi-million-pound UK-India virtual centres in Clean Energy, Water Security and Agricultural Nitrogen.

The two Prime Ministers also welcomed new joint research and innovation programmes on Childhood and Maternal Health and Nutrition, Mental Health and Substance Abuse, Urbanization and Heritage, Sustainable Water Resources for Food, Energy and Ecosystem Services, Atmospheric Pollution and Human Health in an Indian Megacity, Aquaculture, and the joint UK-India observational campaign on the South Asian Monsoon.

They welcomed the announcement by Innovate UK, the Department of Science and Technology (DST) and the Global Innovation and Technology Alliance (GITA), of the opening of a third round of collaborative industrial R&D, making up to £3.5 million available to support novel commercial solutions in the areas of clean-tech energy, affordable healthcare and ICT related to clean-tech energy and healthcare.

The two Prime Ministers recognized that climate change and its impact on agriculture was a serious challenge confronting the world; they welcomed establishing the joint India-UK collaboration in crop sciences which will bring together the best UK universities – Cambridge University, National Institute of Agricultural Botany, John Innes Centre, Rothamsted Research and University of East Anglia to work through Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), Government of UK and the Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Government of India to address fundamental plant science underpinning yield enhancement, disease and drought resistance and translation of research into sustainable agriculture. They also welcomed establishing of a joint Indo-UK Plant Science Centre in India.

The two Leaders welcomed UK’s plans to send 100 academics to India over the next two academic years as part of the Global Initiative for Academics Network (GIAN); and the ambition for 25,000 UK students to come to India through the Generation UK-India programme by 2020, including 1000 UK interns with Tata Consultancy Services in India by 2020. The two Prime Ministers also welcomed the 3rd phase of the UK India Education and Research Initiative.

The two Prime Ministers welcomed the commitment to achieving mutual recognition of UK and Indian qualifications.

The two Prime Ministers were also happy to announce the setting up of joint India-UK Vaccine Development collaboration between the Department of Biotechnology and Research Councils, UK.

The Department of Biotechnology would also work with Research Councils to establish a strategic group which would explore the mechanisms to develop the evidence base which would address anti-microbial resistance at the genomic level of the host-pathogen interactions to accelerate the development of new drugs and diagnostics.

The two Prime Ministers underlined their joint determination to address antimicrobial resistance (AMR), noting that it poses a grave public health and economic threat to both countries.

The two Prime Ministers welcomed the cooperation in the health sector between the two countries and the on-going Memorandum of Understanding covering areas including Medical Education and Training, Universal Health Coverage, containment of Anti-Microbial Resistance (AMR), improving patient safety through quality, safe and efficacious drugs and the collaboration between NICE International, UK and the Department of Health Research in India on medical technology assessment.

The two Prime Ministers welcomed the agreement signed between King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and Indo UK Healthcare Pvt Ltd to open King’s College Hospital, Chandigarh.

The two Prime Ministers noted the finalisation of a Memorandum of Understanding between Ministry of AYUSH, Government of India and a leading UK institute for Integrated Medicine to strengthen and develop cooperation in the field of research and education in this area.

The two Prime Ministers announced that a UK-India Year of Culture will be organised in 2017 to celebrate our deep cultural ties and the 70th anniversary of Indian Independence.

The two Prime Ministers committed support to the digitization of the shared archival collections housed in the British Library and the National Archives of India.