David Cameron urges India to open up to British business


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David Cameron has urged the Indian government to cut "regulation and red tape" in a bid to encourage more trade and investment involving UK businesses.

The prime minister said India "can be a difficult country to do business in" but insisted he wanted the UK to become India's economic "partner of choice".

He wanted to see UK firms playing a bigger role in a "more open, more flexible" Indian economy, he said.

Mr Cameron is on a three-day visit to India with a British trade delegation.

The PM has also outlined a same-day visa scheme to make the process easier for India's business community.

'Success story'

During what is Mr Cameron's second trip to India as UK PM, he is due to meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and President Pranab Mukherjee.

Speaking to the BBC's Jon Sopel, Mr Cameron said he would examine with his Indian counterpart how to "take down the barriers" between the two countries.

"We'll be saying to the Indians: 'We'd like to see your economy more open, more flexible, more easy to invest in, so that British firms in insurance or banking or retail can play a bigger part in the Indian economy.'

"It's a conversation we need to have, but a conversion that has two sides."

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When David Cameron says he wants Britain and India to forge one of the great partnerships of the 21st century, he knows he has some work to do”

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The prime minister insisted that India was "one of the great success stories of this century", adding that he believed it would be a "top three [world] economy" by 2030.

"I want Britain to be its partner of choice, helping to build those motorways, helping to provide those universities, helping to invest in healthcare and also encouraging Indian investment back into the UK," he said.

But Mr Cameron sounded a cautionary note over corruption in India, while admitting the British economy was not immune to rogue trading.

He said: "I don't come here to preach to anybody, but clearly every country has to be on their guard against bribery and corruption as the Indians themselves know."

Mr Cameron arrived in Mumbai on Monday with the biggest entourage of British business people ever taken on an overseas trip by a UK prime minister.

Those represented include BAE Systems, Rolls-Royce, the London Underground and the English Premier League.

At a question-and-answer-session at Unilever headquarters in Mumbai, Mr Cameron said: "India's rise is going to be one of the great phenomena of this century and it is incredibly impressive to see.

"We've only just started on the sort of partnership that we could build. As far as I'm concerned, the sky is the limit."

Mr Cameron promised up to £1m to help fund a feasibility study into using British expertise to develop a "business corridor" between Mumbai and Bangalore.

'Valuable deals'

"It would unleash India's potential along the 1,000 kilometres from Mumbai to Bangalore, transforming lives and putting British businesses in prime position to secure valuable commercial deals," he added.

Among the businessmen joining Mr Cameron on the trip is the chief executive of the English Premier League, Richard Scudamore, who told the BBC that football was the fastest growing sport in India.

He said interest in the league had been growing exponentially.

"Ten years ago it was very small, and it's grown and we've just concluded our deals for the next three years, and we've had exponential growth here both in audience and revenue terms, so it's an increasingly important market for us."

Mr Scudamore added that the Premier League runs a skills and coaching initiative in India, in conjunction with the British Council, to further Indian interest in the sport.

Another of the trip's aims is to address controversy over the recent toughening of UK visa rules.

Mr Cameron said there was no limit on the number of Indian students that could come to British universities, as long as they had an English language qualification and a place to study.

In a round of TV interviews in Mumbai, Mr Cameron said Britain welcomed Indian university students.

"We want to make sure that we are attracting... the best and the brightest," he said.

"And in terms of our visa operation here in India, it is the biggest one we have anywhere in the world. Nine out of 10 of those who apply for a visa get one."

The prime minister also spoke of making Britain's visa system simpler for Indian businesses.

"We are introducing today a same-day visa service for business people who want to come to Britain for linking up their businesses for trade and other things like that," he said.

Later on Monday, Mr Cameron visited a memorial to the 16 Indian police officers killed during the terror attacks in Mumbai in 2008.

The prime minister laid a wreath in respect and listened as an honour guard played the Last Post.


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  • Comment number 498.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 497.

    488.Gary J
    3 Minutes ago
    Instead of paying obscene multi-million pound salaries and bonuses for mediocrity at the top of UK companies, why not spend a small fraction of that and replace them with top quality people from India?

    ...... Best comment here today. I wish it was you on a trip to India instead of Cameron!

  • rate this

    Comment number 496.

    Only a year ago we were supposed to be paying for India's Navy and sending them massive aid. Guess the badmouthing of India has now stopped and reality has kicked in. With such as large resident British Indian population we should be first in the queue for deals with India.

  • rate this

    Comment number 495.

    It is quite impressive to see Mr. David Cameron's convictions on the subject of enhancing bilateral ties with India. However, one needs to bring to his notice that it is not the student visa which concern's Indian students, but the the post studies work permit. For instance, it is virtually impossible for an Indian student, studying even in continental Europe, to secure a UK work permit !

  • rate this

    Comment number 494.

    The P.M. is in India trying to bring jobs to the U.K.while on HYS the Vile left spit venom & bile, whinge about benefits and how bad things are, How more should be spent on everything and more tax should be taken off the workers so the socialist who want all these benefits & handouts don,t have to pay for them like they have got away with not doing 4 years.anyone would think they don;t want jobs,

  • rate this

    Comment number 493.


    One of the Editor's Picks (by 'Article1') states that the population of India has doubled in the last 50 years. Surely not correct?

    The census in 1951 reported a population of 361m. In 2011 it was 1,210m (a 335% increase).


  • rate this

    Comment number 492.

    Maybe David Cameron is going to outsource the UK government to india as part of his cost-cutting measures!

  • Comment number 491.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 490.

    Cameron is still acting like Britain is a power to reckon with. India already has a foothold in our steel, vehicle and food manufacturing here. If anyone will gain from this it will be India at the expense of jobs and wages here. Taxpayers will be shafted to fund corporate subsidies.

  • rate this

    Comment number 489.

    479.tiefflieger: "do not worry, I'm leaving anyway: going back to live in Germany again, where everything functions properly and even the politicians are reasonably competent.."

    Champion. perhaps the superior German health system can sort out your misery prolapse.

  • rate this

    Comment number 488.

    Instead of paying obscene multi-million pound salaries and bonuses for mediocrity at the top of UK companies, why not spend a small fraction of that and replace them with top quality people from India?

  • rate this

    Comment number 487.

    467 Starshine.
    "Only 8% of the UK population has origins oustide Europe so get a grip."
    What would India or China do if suddenly 10% of their population was non-Local.That'd be 100's of Millions.Britain was guilty of Colonisation. What we see in parts of the UK is nothing short of Cultural Genocide. And the biggest culprits are the Europhiles and Globalist Liberals, who detest National Identities.

  • rate this

    Comment number 486.

    so as long as the few are making money we will put aside the atrocities against women and children there. What a lovely world we live in where paper and coinage is put above humanity's happiness and wellbeing. Nice one!

  • rate this

    Comment number 485.

    @422 Jay Krishna I hate to burst your bubble but I hardly think you can hold Nepal, Sri Lanka and India up as models of progressive democracies... leaving India out look at whats going on and has gone in in both SL and Nepal. They may be "democracies" but theyre not examples to be proud of considering recent history.

  • rate this

    Comment number 484.


    And there does another happy BNP voter.

    I've never ever met an Indian with a chip on their shoulder about the British Empire, and I would assume you have never gone to India to find out what it's like.

    I have an Indian friend who works from 5am to 6pm Monday-Saturday and employs 7 people. Guess he came here for Welfare huh?

  • rate this

    Comment number 483.

    @459 The Uncivil Servant
    Unlike before the world wars, Tory Boys are now paying you some cut of the moolah in the name of Social Security free shcools, free hospitals, pensions etc which is paid by taxes from super corporations that colonise the world with the help of State Diplomacy.
    Guns, Casino Banking & Insurance and Oil control is all you need. Capitalism is the new Colonisation.

  • rate this

    Comment number 482.

    Quality goes out the window when manufacturing is outsourced for the benefit of profits.........you only have to look at china to see what has happened to mass produced goods and the tainting of a million toys with lead infused paint............!!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 481.

    Even though some may not like it, the fact is that the old economic superpowers like Europe & USA are in decline.

    Places like China, India & Brazil are now becoming a force due to large workforces & very low wages. Western nations cant match that so we need to get as much trade from them before other countries try to gain a foothold

  • rate this

    Comment number 480.

    I think Cameron is on a hiding to nothing. Most of what 'we' have to sell/trade is already foreign owned incl. the company reps with him on this jaunt. Also lots of our steel industry is alrady Indian owned. Arms and banking is about it but we are a small fish in a big ocean now. India has most to gain. Cameron is showboating here.

  • rate this

    Comment number 479.

    Dear Gusgog (447) - do not worry, I'm leaving anyway: going back to live in Germany again, where everything functions properly and even the politicians are reasonably competent, because the well-educated citizenry expect decent standards. I bitterly regret my stupid decision to return to this dreadful, incurably nationalistic country! "God be with you, land of the Bavarians"!


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