The UK and India have been close allies with cultural and historical ties that go back centuries. The bilateral relationship between the countries was upgraded to a strategic partnership in 2004. Relations were further cemented over the years, particularly with the recent launching of the historic Roadmap 2030 for India-UK future relations by PM Modi and PM Johnson during the India-UK Virtual Summit on 4 May 2021, looking to elevate the cooperation to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership. Regular high-level and ministerial visits from both parties are a testament to India’s inclination and commitment toward investing in its ties with the UK and vice versa. Today, India is the second-largest source of FDI for the UK, according to CMIE data. Bilateral trade between India and the UK has increased by 22.7% from FY 2009-10 to FY 2020-21. The launch of the ETP or Enhanced Trade Partnership in 2021 under Roadmap 2030 served to kickstart the negotiations for a comprehensive, mutually-beneficial FTA that is currently underway.
In light of the two parties celebrating 75 years of relations this year and with the ongoing UK-India FTA discussions looking promising, EICBI is holding the United Kingdom-India Business Conference on the 15th of September 2022 at the UK parliament. September is a significant month in the history of UK-India as it was on 20th September 2004 that India’s then Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh met the Prime Minister of the UK, Tony Blair, in London where a Joint Declaration titled ‘India-UK: towards a new and dynamic partnership’ was adopted by the two countries. Members of Parliaments from the UK and other distinguished guests will attend our UK-India Business summit 2022 with a welcome address and opening remarks. Two-panel discussions will follow this. The first, titled ‘ The Free Trade Agreement: Insights and Opportunities, will examine the benefits and challenges of the FTA for both countries. The second-panel discussion, titled ‘India-UK ties at 75: Looking back, moving forward, will reflect upon the evolution of multifaceted relations between two of the world’s most vibrant liberal democracies over the last 75 years. The event is a must-attend for business leaders looking to grow and expand their enterprises in the UK or Indian market as the summit, besides being a networking platform to connect, share experiences and learn from experts as well as colleagues, intends to provide attendees with knowledge and access to financing, resources, strategic and legal insights into building successful brands in the Indian and UK markets.
(Meghana Deepali Rao is a junior fellow at Europe India Centre for Business and Industry.)