Osborne and Hague start India visit

George Osborne and William Hague Chancellor George Osborne and Foreign Secretary William Hague are the latest high-profile foreign leaders to visit India after the general elections

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Britain's Chancellor George Osborne and Foreign Secretary William Hague have begun a two-day trip to India.

They are looking to open up investment opportunities for UK firms in India's defence and infrastructure sector, and attract Indian investment into Britain.

The visit comes as a new government led by Narendra Modi has taken charge in India - Asia's third-largest economy.

Mr Modi is widely expected to announce new reforms to boost economic growth.

"I believe a stronger relationship with Britain will help deliver the new economic policy of the Indian government," Mr Osborne said in a speech in Mumbai.

"Prime Minister Modi is seeking more investment in India's economy - and I want British companies to provide it, and the British government to support it."

Meanwhile, Mr Osborne also announced that Indian pharmaceutical company Cipla is to invest up to £100m in the UK.

'Excitement and optimism'

Start Quote

It's great to be here at a time when the excitement about the Indian economy, and the optimism about the prospects for future growth, are palpable”

End Quote George Osborne UK Chancellor

India's economy has struggled in recent years with rising price pressures and problems with bureaucracy and corruption.

That has hurt the confidence of foreign investors looking to enter the country.

However, a landslide win for the Mr Modi-led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the recent general elections has sparked hopes of a revival in India's economy.

Both foreign and local investors have been hoping that Mr Modi will introduce fresh reforms and boost investment in key sectors to help spur growth.

Start Quote

Mr Cameron and his Chancellor will need to do a good deal more cooing over Mahindra's babies, to win its big money”

End Quote

As a result, various countries have been keen to boost ties with India's new government and open up opportunities for their businesses.

"It's great to be here at a time when the excitement about the Indian economy, and the optimism about the prospects for future growth, are palpable," Mr Osborne said.

"And the excitement here is matched by new confidence among international investors abroad in the future of the Indian economy.

"It is a measure of the ambition and drive and pace of the new government of prime minister Modi, that this complete turn-around in sentiment about the Indian economy has been achieved in just seven short weeks, since that stunning election victory."

The visit by Britain's two senior ministers follows a series of other high-profile visits to India - including those by the French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, Russia's Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin and China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 315.

    India has wealth, but like many emerging economies, it's with a small number of super-rich; normal people see none of it and live in poverty and often squalor.

    In the west, there are laws in place to protect workers from unscrupulous employers. If living standards in India were raised for all, labour wouldn't be cheap, lowering competitiveness. No easy way out for the poor of India, sadly.

  • rate this

    Comment number 300.

    India has huge development potential that will require investment of both money and expertise...the UK should be ensuring that if they are going to spend money overseas that some if not most of it comes to UK businesses and if Indian entrepreneurs have money to invest outside India why not with the UK.

  • rate this

    Comment number 278.

    59. Dave 52

    We are one of the highest countries in the world for foreign direct investment. This is due to our competitive tax breaks. With high energy costs and high costs of extracting coal out the ground its very unlikely this country will go back to those industries. We should be investing more in high skilled manufacturing /engineering jobs this is what the country really needs!

  • rate this

    Comment number 232.

    212. barryp
    Yet again the Government is looking abroad for investment, what has happened to UK investors? This mission should not be about finding Foreign investment, it should be about helping UK money invest both in the UK and abroad.


    Really can't understand anyone arguing against attracting money into this country. Madness.

  • rate this

    Comment number 59.

    We need to sort out our own back yard first and instead of investing in any other country place those monies back into our own infrastructure to rebuild the lost industries we as a nation once led the world in.

    Thatcher & her government sold virtually every industry we once led in to any country overseas that wanted it especially coal & steel production.

    Time for us to take it back.


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