Event ReportsPublished on Jul 09, 2015
UK's Deputy High Commissioner in Chennai, Mr Bharat Joshi, has said that Indian investments in the UK have created over 5000 jobs while UK investments in Chennai alone have generated several thousands.
Indians invest more in UK than in rest of EU

Noting that India and the UK have a long-standing relationship owing to historical connections, the Deputy High Commissioner of UK in Chennai, Mr. Bharat Joshi, said Indians invested more in the UK than in the rest of the EU combined.

Initiating a discussion on "UK Polls and Bilateral Relations with India" at the Chennai Chapter of the Observer Research Foundation, Mr Joshi said Indian investments in the UK have created over 5000 jobs while UK investments in Chennai alone have generated several thousands.

According to him, the FDI share of the UK in India is to the tune of 17.5 percent.

He said UK remains one of the most preferred destinations for the manufacturing sector owing to its low cost of production. The UK is in the top 10 countries in the ease of doing business while India ranks in the top 150. Both the countries are working together to make significant progress with this respect.

Mr Joshi said the UK is also investing in India to create smart cities and working closely in the energy sector -- both renewable and non-renewable. Due to their extensive expertise in off-shore and on-shore wind energy sector, plants are being set in parts of Tamil Nadu to harness wind energy. British Gas is all set to provide LNG to Gujarat for 20 years.

Talking on the recent parliamentary polls in his country, Mr Joshi went through the statistics of the elections in which the Conservative party managed to secure an absolute majority, for the first time since 1977.

The new Parliament in the UK has the most diverse set of elected representatives in the history of the country, with 191 women and 41 of minority origin, including Indians, Mr Joshi pointed out. He also noted the tremendous increase in the number of seats won by the Scottish National Party (SNP), 56 of the 59, in the Scottish territories, despite only a marginal increase in the vote-share. This, he said, has led to many questioning the high number of seats for Scotland despite the small population.

Bharat Joshi also ruled out any more referendum in the near future regarding Scotland's secession from the UK. The referendum held in 2014 was a "once in a generation" one and not even the SNP has a referendum demand on their card in the near future. Prior to this there was a referendum when Prime Minister Tony Blair had assumed office. This was to decide on the devolution of certain powers to Scotland, which included sectors such as education, legislation, taxation and even practice of law. However, he said there would be discussions on further devolution of powers to Scotland and that Prime Minister David Cameron had met Nicola Sturgeon, the First Minister of Scotland, to discuss this matter. He also noted that this would be made based on the Smith Commission, which was set up after the Scottish referendum in 2014.

The discussion edged on to the UK's continuance in the EU. A referendum is due in 2017 where the citizens of the UK would decide whether or not the country remains a part of the EU. The UK is a net contributor to the EU and gives more than twice of what it gets back in return, said Mr. Joshi. The EU remains the largest single market contributing to almost one-fourth of the global GDP.

When a question was brought forward regarding the UK's membership in the Eurozone and the Schengen Zone, Mr. Joshi pointed out that none of the major political parties in the UK had it in their agenda. There were apprehensions about the Schengen visa being prone to misuse, to work in the UK, since the ultimate destination of immigrants within the EU was the UK.

Mr Joshi, while speaking about education and student interactions between both the countries, said that there are over 25000 Indian students pursuing higher education in the UK and this year over 700 scholarships were awarded to the students.

India and the UK have partnered several joint researches, which began with £ 1 million in 2008 and in 2014 it had grossed over £ 100 million.

(This report is prepared by Ramalingam. Va., B.A. (Journalism & Mass Communication)

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