Lord Hannan is the Member of House of Lords - UK Parliament/ Advisor - UK Board of Trade
Delivering his keynote address, Lord Hannan began his talk by congratulating EICBI for hosting this summit and its continued efforts for enhanced trade cooperation between India and UK. He recognised the necessity of free trade, as there are no losers in it and urged for concluding the FTAs between both India-UK and India-EU for the prosperity of all. He mentions that it is a peculiar opportunity, as both India and UK are rethinking their trade policies. India, the third-largest economy (GDP-PPP), is significantly opening up its markets, and the UK, a member of G-7, is regaining control of its trade policies post Brexit. He mentioned that the UK attaches great importance to its relations with significant English-speaking trading partners like India. The two countries enjoy unique complementarities in various sectors. Shared history, well-established channels of cooperation, open and pluralistic societies, commitment to democracy, legal system, rule-based international order, revival, safeguarding and preservation of multilateralism and rule-based international trade with WTO at its core, makes India - UK, as called by Honourable Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Natural Allies. The UK now has approximately 1.5 million people of Indian origin, equating to almost 1.8 % of Britain's population. Emphasising this close ideological and cultural bond, Lord Hannan mentioned that geographical proximity matters less and cultural similarity matters more, making India and UK naturally fit for increased bilateral relations.
He recalled that post-independence India went on a protectionist path for varied reasons, but now has realised the importance of free trade. He stated that India and the UK have a lot in common, both countries want free movement of labour and zero red-tapes. He further added that a UK-India deal, encompassing free movement will be not just an economic boom but revitalise and give impetus to the alliance of democracies. He appreciated the Honourable Prime Minister of UK, Mr Boris Johnson’s effort to bring vital democracies of the world together in D-10. He expects that, with UK - India shared democratic ideals at the core, both the countries will end up as closer friends and allies than ever before if the countries continue to work together.