Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman today said that India-UK economic ties are important, as together they are two of the world’s top seven economies with a combined GDP of over $5 trillion. Speaking at the10th India-UK Economic and Financial Dialogue, Nirmala Sitharaman added that financial technology is a key engagement area for cooperation as a sunshine sector where India is number 4 in terms of potential. FM Sitharaman further said that India-UK trade has more than doubled since the first EFD in 2007, with bilateral investment supporting over half a million jobs across both countries.
The minister apprised that India and the UK have a joint investment of up to £8 million between the Department of Biotechnology for research into factors leading to the severity of the coronavirus. In the same discussion, Rishi Sunak, UK’s Chancellor of Exchequer, appreciated India for becoming the second largest PPE manufacturer in the world.
FM Sitharaman further said that the UK-India Capital Markets Working Group has helped in attracting inflows into India’s capital market, which will help the economy. She added that India-UK strategic collaboration has helped to accelerate the development of GIFT City with Standard Chartered and HSBC opening offices in GIFT city, becoming the first foreign banks to be licensed to operate an international banking unit.
The minister remained hopeful that the UK-India Fast-Track Start-Up Fund backed by SIDBI and the UK Government will fund early-stage tech start-ups with technical assistance focused on capacity building, policy advocacy, and deepening entrepreneurial connects with the UK. She underlined that she is looking forward to the start of the Annual India-UK Financial Markets Dialogue next year.
Meanwhile, Economic Enhanced Trade Partnership (ETP) was declared at the 14th Joint Economic and Trade Committee (JETCO) in July 2020. FM Sitharaman highlighted that UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and the Indian Council of Social Science Research have committed up to £2.6 million for four joint research projects on the future of UK-India trade and investment.