London wants to become India’s ‘destination of choice: UK Minister

The UK approved 89% of Indian student visa applications till March 2016.

The Dollar Business Bureau

London wants to become India’s ‘destination of choice’ for raising foreign funds, said an Indian-born UK minister on Monday.

“Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi wants to ‘Make in India’. We say: Make in India, finance in the UK,” said Alok Sharma, parliamentary under-secretary in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), while addressing the UK-India Business Council on “Future of the UK-India Relationship” in London.

India, while seeking to enhance its role as an innovator and manufacturer, is also correctly addressing its future energy and infrastructure needs, Sharma said.

As per International Energy Agency (IEA), $2.8 trillion worth of funds required to invest in energy by 2040, and more than $1 trillion needed for other infrastructure, he stated.

The Minister in Charge of Asia said the UK government led by Theresa May wants London to become a "destination of choice" for India to raise international funds.

The Minister further said that the UK wants Indian firms and public sector enterprises to look the City of London as a natural destination for raising international funds for corporates as well as quasi-sovereigns. Sharma also sought to clarify what he mentioned as misconceptions and mis-perceptions around the visas issue.

“Firstly, there is no limit on the number of foreign students studying at the recognised educational institutions in the UK. The other thing is that the UK continues to welcome India students in the year till March 2016 and approved 89% of student visa applications from India,” he said.

“We obviously want that our visa rules to be as efficient and simple as possible. However, we must also make sure that the people return back to their country of origin when their visa gets expired,” he added.

He highlighted that last month visit of British PM Theresa May to India was not a coincidence that it was her first foreign bilateral visit outside the EU as the PM.

The Dollar Business Bureau - Dec 14, 2016 12:00 IST