London: After assuring global investors on how India is the preferred destination for doing business and investments, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said it was for industry captains to push bilateral ties with Britain as the political will of the two nations was well established.
“India and the United Kingdom are economically made for each other. This relationship has to be driven by private sector CEOs now,” Modi said on the second day of his engagements here during his address to the UK-India CEO Forum.
People of UK and India are easily compatible. This is in itself is a big advantage.
British Prime Minister David Cameron, who also addressed the forum meeting, articulated a similar position at the meeting, attended by around 30 chief executives from the two sides. “We both have the political will to take our economic relationship forward,” Cameron said.
The Indian prime minister, who had made a series of statements and oversaw the release of several joint statements with his host and British counterpart on Thursday, said he was particularly keen that the global investment community participates in India’s infrastructure projects.
“We want to develop our railway stations in the public-private partnership mode,” Modi said, adding: “Defense manufacturing is also the backbone of our ‘Make in India’ initiative.”
Modi also said India was looking at the global stage now. “We are confidently, consistently and ceaselessly working to integrate our economy with the world,” he told the meeting, held at Lancaster House, close to Buckingham Palace.
The Indian prime minister also referred to initiatives such as “Make in India” and said a special emphasis was on sprucing up infrastructure, further opening up of the economy to foreign capital, building 50 million new houses by 2022 and generating 175 GW of renewable energy.
British companies in India will be a win-win partnership for both countries.
According to a statement issued after the meetings between the two prime ministers, they looked forward to the first meeting of the reconstituted India-UK CEOs Forum, and had tasked it with advising them on the trade and investment opportunities as also challenges faced by the two sides.
According to an analysis by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), the institutional partner from the India-UK CEO Forum, while the cumulative equity investment from Britain to India between January 2003 and August 2015 was $54.35 billion, it was $11.3 billion reciprocally.
On Thursday, deals worth $14.2 billion were signed by the businesses of the two countries.
After the CEOs Forum meeting, Modi arrived at Buckingham Palace, where he was received by Queen Elizabeth II. She was hosting a lunch for him.
“Her Majesty the Queen with PM @narendramodi at Buckingham Palace,” PMO tweeted.
“Building on the bonds of history. PM @narendra Modi calls on Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II,” tweeted Vikas Swarup, spokesperson for the external affairs ministry.
The Indian prime minister began the day by continuing bilateral parleys with Cameron at the Chequers, the countryside retreat of the British prime minister. Modi was hosted by Cameron to a private dinner on Thursday at the Chequers and he spent the night there.
During the course of his stay at the Chequers, the Indian prime Friday presented his British counterpart with specially handcrafted bookends made of wood, marble and silver.
Each pair of bookends has a silver bell which symbolizes inner wisdom and is engraved with a Sanskrit verse from the Bhagavad Gita along with its English rendering, an official statement said.
Keeping in mind Cameron’s fondness for Robert Graves’s work on World War I, ‘Goodbye to All That’, Modi also presented to him David Omissi’s ‘Indian Voices of the Great War’.
To the first lady, the Indian prime minister presented Aranmula metal mirror, a unique handicraft from Kerala, and Pashmina stoles.
Later on Friday evening, Modi will address around 60,000 people of Indian origin at the iconic Wembley Stadium here.
This will be followed by a reception in his honor by India’s High Commissioner to Britain, Ranjan Mathai.
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