Speaking at the ‘UK-India Infrastructure Summit' hosted by the City of London Corporation in association with India Global Forum (IGF) as part of the ongoing UK-India Week, UK Investment Minister Lord Dominic Johnson underscored the importance of a free trade agreement (FTA) for both the UK and India.
Lord Johnson said: “I'm very optimistic because I think it is very important to do a trade deal for both sides… and it's really important for business to express their support for such a deal because it’s about allowing businesses to function more effectively with greater profits, wealth and security for the world.”
“The work we're doing around an FTA is really, really important; so that investors have a high degree of confidence in the UK and in India. The governments need to continue to push to provide an environment that is predictable and stable.”
Themed around ‘Financing a Sustainable Future’, the summit convened sustainable finance and infrastructure financing leaders to evaluate the growing demands in the sector and understand the key opportunities for partnership and investment to deliver sustainable infrastructure in India.
IGF Founder and Chairman Manoj Ladwa said in an opening address: "As the fastest growing major economy in the world, and the most populous, India has huge aspirations and equally huge responsibilities.
“The rapid building of high quality sustainable physical and digital infrastructure will be critical to achieving India’s growth trajectory, as well as balancing its net zero commitments."
Vikram Doraiswami, High Commissioner of India to the UK, and B.V.R Subrahmanyam, CEO, NITI Aayog, made a strong case for the City of London investing in sustainable infrastructure in India, while showcasing recent policy, legislative and social changes in India.
“The UK, particularly the City of London, has excellent capabilities in structuring and funnelling finance where it is needed. UK has demonstrated technological capabilities while India is at the frontiers of innovation. Combining technology with financing would enhance the cooperation,” said Subrahmanyam.
Bullish on India, Lord Jitesh Gadhia, Member of the Court of Directors, Bank of England, added: “India has a tailwind which is a combination of economics, demographics and political stability.”
Nicholas Lyons, the Lord Mayor of the City of London, emphasised London’s unparalleled global expertise in sustainable finance and infrastructure financing solutions.
The Lord Mayor said: “Sustainable infrastructure is critical for India’s economic trajectory and to meet the needs of its fast-growing population, while fulfilling its ambition to reach net zero by 2070.
“With strong government backing and unparalleled global expertise in sustainable finance and infrastructure financing solutions, the City of London and the UK can help India to access one of the largest and diversified global capital pools on the best possible terms.”
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The summit covered an engaging set of discussions on addressing roadblocks to finance flows, sectoral challenges, innovative resource mobilisation, and strategies to accelerate sustainable infrastructure development. The discussions delved into the challenges in the renewables sector, harnessing digital technologies, and promoting smart and green cities. As laid out in UK-India Roadmap 2030, this collaboration constitutes a critical component of the bilateral partnership in addressing climate change.
*Info: UK-India Week 2023