UK banks on FDI in retail and insurance

Written by fe Bureaus | New Delhi | Updated: Jul 31 2010, 04:25am hrs
India and UK have identified three key issues business, global security and climate which will form the pillars of a deeper and wider relationship with India. These issues were discussed during Prime Minister Manmohan Singhs delegation-level meeting with his British counterpart David Cameron. A cultural agreement, the first of its kind with the UK, was also signed on Thursday.

The leaders discussed ways to strengthen political, security and cultural links between the two nations. Six Cabinet members and more than 30 senior executives are accompanying the British PM on his initial India visit. Cameron also met several politicians on a hectic day in New Delhi.

Britain is keen on India opening up its financial services sector. It wants India to implement a proposal to lift FDI in insurance to 49% from the current 26%. Foreign retail giants including Britains Tesco are waiting for India to open multi-brand retailing for British companies.Tesco currently has a joint venture with Trent in India. Just as we in Britain are very open economy welcoming investment, you too are here in India as well. In banking, insurance and retail, there are further opportunities for openness that will benefit both the countries, Cameron said.

Cameron said the UK has expertise in civil nuclear power. We are opening conversation with you on that front... We have very strong defence industry and I am delighted to see BAE-HAL agreement.

UK minister for exchequer George Osborne said Indias success is of strategic importance to all open societies and economies. The UK, he said, is determined to do all it can to be a partner in the process. Lauding India for weathering the global financial crisis better than the UK and other economies did, he said: It is essential that we learn the lessons of the crisis and create financial systems that support growth rather than put it at risk.

India welcomed a pledge by UK to end complacency towards its former colony and forge a special relationship, which would lead to economic benefits for both. There has been a certain amount of complacency in the past ... a belief that sentiment was enough, Vince Cable, British business secretary told ministers and business leaders.

Responding to a question on whether a visit to India just 13 weeks into the new government might send a wrong message to China, Indias main economic rival in Asia, foreign secretary William Hague said ties with India needed more nurturing.

India looks forward to more infra ties with UK, says Sharma

New Delhi: Inviting companies from the UK to invest in Indias burgeoning infrastructure space, commerce minister Anand Sharma on Thursday said British companies have established expertise in building world-class infrastructure and India would look forward to greater partnership, greater collaboration and assistance in this endeavour. Sharma, who was speaking at the UK-India Economic Summit, highlighted that since India would be adding 500 million people into the workforce, the two countries could jointly help in training them.