Ovessa Iqbal is the First Secretary of the High Commission in London. She deals with diplomats, MPs, the local councilors working on India-EU and India-UK relations, and matters related to the Indian diaspora within the UK.
In the 2022 Class of EuropeIndia40 event, Ms. Ovessa Iqbal discussed UK-India relations. She first began by congratulating the young talents and thanking EICBI for giving her the opportunity to present her speech.
In her speech, Ms. Iqbal highlighted the main aspects of the India-UK relation and emphasized the importance of the relationship between the two countries. Ms. Ovessa Iqbal highlighted that the UK is one of the most strategic partners for India as they are bound not just by history but by the shared ambition for prosperity and a peaceful future. She believes that the relationship between both nations is important as they have common priorities and common global challenges. Most importantly, Ms. Iqbal stated that there are 1.6 million Indian diasporas in the UK, adding to the tremendous dynamism between the two countries. She emphasized that both nations should continuously nurture the close relationship and take it forward.
Ms. Ovessa Iqbal stated that the UK-India relations remain strong through some facts.
For the UK, India is the second largest source of FDI, with currently 99 projects running in the UK with investors from India. There are around 850 Indian companies operating in the UK. Around 65,000 Indian companies are there in the UK, which are owned by the Indian diaspora. And likewise, for India, the UK is the sixth largest source of FDI. There are around 600 UK companies that operate in India. This year, India has now surpassed China as the largest nationality for which student visas are being issued. Currently, there are over 120,000 Indian students studying in the UK, pursuing education in various fields in the top most educational institutions in the UK.
Ms. Iqbal continued her speech by narrating that the leaders from both nations agreed to elevate the relationship to a comprehensive, strategic partnership during the 2021 Virtual Summit. Through an ambitious 2030 roadmap, both nations are targeting for better bilateral relationships through trade, defense, security, and the health sector.
Keeping the speech short and brief, Ms. Ovessa Iqbal thoroughly states the strengths of the UK-India relationship and highlights the Roadmap 2030, which is a significant program both nations are trying to achieve. Finally, once again congratulating everyone, she concluded her speech.
(Transcribed by Ms Vamika Mahesh. Ms Vamika Mahesh is a research fellow at Europe India Centre for Business and Industry)