India and the UK: Poised for a Winning Partnership

India and the UK poised for a winning partnership As India and the UK are in the advanced stages of negotiating the Free Trade Agreement, economic engagement is seen as a huge opportunity for both countries. India’s G20 Presidency and the G20 Leaders’ Summit is an excellent opportunity to take the partnership between India and the UK onto the global stage. 

This is a defining time when the world’s fifth and sixth largest economies are working closely and consistently to arrive at an agreement which works well for both sides. The commitment and effort from both governments over the last few years has indeed been commendable. 

There is naturally immense expectation from businesses and people of both sides. Studies have shown that the GDP of both sides would increase as a result of the trade agreement, leading to job creation and higher bilateral trade. 

India and the UK have a strong economic relationship with great potential for growth in both goods and services. Besides bilateral trade, investment is also a key part of the India-UK economic relationship. The large Indian community presence of over 1.6 million expatriates, forming less than 2% of the UK’s total population but contributing over 6% to GDP, represents a ‘living bridge’ and plays an important role in promoting bilateral trade and investment. 

Major Indian corporates are present in the UK market and new entrants are increasing. The 10th CII-Grant Thornton report ‘India Meets Britain Tracker’ identified a record 954 Indian companies operating in the UK up from 900 in 2022 with combined revenues of £50.5 billion. Together the 954 companies employed 105,931 people. 

Similarly, the UK has remained keen on exploring the potential of the Indian market. The two countries have also collaborated in innovation and research. The successful collaboration in providing the world vaccine doses during the pandemic is just one of the examples of what this partnership can do for the world. 

Recognising the close links and aligned interests of both countries, two years ago the UK and India agreed to the ‘2030 Roadmap’ which was a historic commitment to bring the countries, economies, and people closer together. At the summit between Prime Minister Modi and then British PM Boris Johnson, the two sides had adopted a 10-year roadmap to expand ties in the key areas of trade and economy, defence and security, climate change and people-to-people connections among others. 

The India-UK relationship was elevated to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership during the bilateral virtual summit in May 2021. 

Some of the key achievements in the roadmap that have recently been achieved include the mutual recognition of higher education qualifications, new visa routes for young professionals, and rising FDI in both directions.

This article was originally published in the latest issue of ‘India | UK – Discovering Business 2024’.

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