Mid-November saw business leaders from India and the U.K. come together at Downing Street to discuss the trade practices and potential between the two countries. Indian Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi had been invited by U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron to be a part of this meeting.
It was an honour for me to attend and speak at the UK/India CEO Forum where I represented the renewable energy sector of India. The forum met its objectives as industry leaders came together and committed to improving investment, trade and economic collaboration between the two countries. As the largest investor in India of the G20 nations, the U.K. runs 535 businesses in the industries of construction and infrastructure, retail and communications and information technology. These businesses employ 6,91,000 Indians. Similarly, 1,10,000 people are employed by 800 Indian businesses in the U.K. These facts highlighted that trade partnerships greatly benefits the two countries presently. However, Prime Minister David Cameron voiced the opinion that was shared by everyone present – that massive potential for further growth exists in both economies when supported by each other.
Attendees at the forum were encouraged to capitalize on the existing commercial relationships to build more partnerships. Innovation has been recognized as the key that can drive practices towards this goal. Business leaders from both countries integrated their thoughts and ideas to identify opportunities that, when promoted through relevant projects, can catalyse the business practices between India and the U.K.
A topic close to me is environmental concerns and this forum served as a perfect platform to represent a consolidated view of people around the globe. Climate change continues to be a major point of discussion in and world leaders are pushing an increasing number of industries to make a conscious change in the ways they conduct their businesses.
Business leaders in attendance, along with U.K. contingent Co-Chairman Sir Gerry Grimstone (Chairman of Standard Life) and Indian contingent Co-Chairman Cyrus Mistry (Chairman of Tata Group), identified certain themes that are pivotal in the successful collaboration of the two countries. Six such themes were identified including energy, healthcare, education and skills, defence and security, engineering, smart cities and digital economy and financial and professional services.
While the discussions ended on a positive note, unfortunately, towards the end, we were shocked with the terrorist attacks that rocked Paris and that reverberated at Downing Street too. Such incidents threatened the peace that the world is trying so hard to achieve. Our thoughts are with the victims, their families and loved ones. It is also with the brave folks from the local administration who are working tirelessly to put the city back on its feet.
We watched in shock as the situation evolved around us and silently renewed our commitment to our mission in the hope that this collaboration would be an inspiration for many others so that, one day it can bring ideology and progress which will bring the countries of the world closer.