Vince Cable visits India to push ‘special relationship’ further as Zomato plans UK investment

Archana Venkatraman

UK Business Secretary,Vince Cable, is on a four-day visit to India with a 25-member British business delegation to help foster UK-India business relations. He will also announce Indian search service Zomato’s plans to invest $1m in Scotland over the next year.

Vince Cable will be India between Dec 9 and 12 to boost UK-India trade ties
Image: Office of Nick Clegg

During his stay between December 9 and 12, Cable will meet Finance Minister P Chidambaram, Commerce Minister Anand Sharma and other Indian government officials.

Cable will kick off his India tour by co-chairing the annual UK-India Joint Economic and Trade Committee (JETCO) in Delhi to develop business opportunities and strengthen existing partnerships between UK and India in the fields of engineering, education, skills and innovation.

While trade has lagged in recent years because of the economic downturn, UK exports to India have grown by some 20% in 2013.

“UK firms are the largest European investors in India and there is more Indian investment in the UK than the rest of the EU combined, led by Tata,” Cable said.

“We have always had a special relationship between our countries and I am keen to push business collaboration much further as we work towards doubling trade with India by 2015,” he added.

Among significant deals between the two countries, Cable will sign a £180m repayment guarantee deal underwritten by UK Export Finance (UKEF) to support Reliance’s plans to place service and equipment contracts with UK companies.

He will also support Zomato’s plans to invest a further $1m in Scotland over the next year. The Indian-based online and mobile search service will also set up teams across key UK cities -- Newcastle, Leeds and Bristol -- and make the UK the headquarters of its European operations.

Cable and the business delegation will then visit Coimbatore, Chennai and Bangalore - cities with investment potential for UK companies.

He will become the first UK Cabinet Minister to visit Coimbatore where he will interact with young entrepreneurs. He will also visit the G Kuppuswamy Naidu Memorial Hospital which works with a cancer research network in Oxford, meet local business leaders, and visit the IL&FS Skills Development Corporation (ISDC) which has worked with UK’s Cambridge University.

In Chennai, he will inaugurate a "Great British Festival" which will aim to showcase UK business in India and generate new partnerships. He will also visit Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), one of the earliest and largest investors in the UK.

Most recently, British energy company Npower outsourced its back office call centre jobs to TCS.

During his stay in India, the UK business secretary will also address businesses and participate in a panel discussion at FICCI (Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry).

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