This week India plays host to a senior delegation from the newly elected UK government. At the head is David Cameron - his first visit to India as the new British Prime Minister. But that said, he is no stranger to our country - on a visit to India in 2006, he wrote "...as the world's centre of gravity moves from Europe and the Atlantic to the south and the east, I think it's time for Britain and India to forge a new special relationship for the twenty-first century."
That was more than three years ago, but that statement holds more weight today than ever before. As the rest of the world struggled under the pressures of recession, we with our neighbor China were charging ahead with GDP growth rates of more than six to seven per cent. Home to a third of the planet's population, China and India are without a doubt taking a sustained lead in economic growth. Looking ahead, India is predicted to become the world's third largest economy in less than three decades. So it's hardly a surprise that today's world powers are paying attention. And as a citizen of our great nation, I obviously stand proud - but I am also looking forward to making the most of the opportunities these changing relationships can deliver.
If world leaders were to be identified by an ideal - we would associate 'Change' most with President Obama, and the 'Big Society' with David Cameron. The Big Society, as I understand it, looks to take the reins of the country from the grip of central government and hand it back to the people. As Cameron describes it - a society where people, "...don't always turn to officials, local authorities or central government for answers to the problems they face". And this is an ideal I believe we can all identify with.
The natural outcome of embracing Big Society in this form would be giving a bigger role to individuals and private institutions in a nation's development; an outcome that I wholeheartedly support, and have advocated throughout my working life.
To my mind, the role of government is to put into place policies and systems which encourage maximum investment by the private sector, but it is up to business and industry to bring about the change and spur the country into action.
That said, the role of the government must not be underestimated – it provides much needed structure and support - but the role of driving research and innovation clearly sits with the private sector. The new UK government seems to understand this, and I will certainly be watching with rapt attention for the Big Society ideal to transform into real, tangible outcomes in the renewable energy space.
Nowhere do we need outcomes on a global scale more than in the renewable energy space. This means Britain and India need to work together, and indeed - working together should come naturally to our nations; our history, a passion for cricket and of course, spicy curry - already bond us together in a very 'special relationship'. Trade is without a doubt the backbone of our relationship, and perhaps with this visit, we could focus our collective energies on making renewable energy an integral part of it too.
UK and India are both growing with leaps and bounds in the clean energy sector - we are the fifth largest market for wind energy, and the UK boasts the largest offshore wind resources in Europe. Technology, resources, investments or simply a debate on governmental frameworks; the opportunities to share, to build, are enormous. For example we could learn from UK's successful open-market bidding system, and they from our state-level incentive policies.
Are we at a new dawn - for a cleaner, greener, more equitable and sustainable world? I hope we are; together we with the UK could be instrumental in bringing this about.