Despite the impact of Russia’s war with Ukraine, the United Kingdom and India They are heading towards an era of positive engagement in trade and trade relations, with steps underway to promote mutual investment in both nations, British Deputy High Commissioner in Charge of Kerala and Karnataka Chandru Iyer said.
Iyer, who is also the UK’s Deputy Trade Commissioner for South Asia, spoke in detail to PTI on Friday about trade and investment between the United Kingdom and India and said there was potential to double the business by 2030.
He was in state for various official engagements including a meeting with Kerala Prime Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and also in connection with the port of call made by the British Royal Navy frigate HMS Lancaster in Kochi.
Calling war a global phenomenon that affects all countries in more ways than one, the British Deputy High Commissioner praised businessmen for being entrepreneurial and resilient in the face of adversity.
“If you look at the business flow or trade figures between the United Kingdom and India for the period ending in the fourth quarter of last year, the figure stood at £34bn. For the same period ending the year before last, it was around £19 billion. So it’s been a huge leap in trade and business,” Iyer said.
After meeting with the Chief Minister two days ago and expressing his interest in collaborating with the Kerala government in the education sector, Iyer met with tech entrepreneurs from Thiruvananthapuram and its neighboring regions. He also held business discussions in Kochi.
“Interest in the UK is so high that people want to come there and set up their business and use it as a global headquarters… This means countries are doing more business together. The aspirations have the potential to double trade and investment numbers by 2030,” Iyer said.
Detailing plans to attract Indian investment in the UK, Iyer said his team was working across India to identify companies with potential and was holding conversations, understanding their aspirations and connecting them with the right people in the UK.
“We as a team are catalysts, we are facilitators. All of our services are free, comprehensive, confidential and personalized,” he said.
Iyer, who has roots in Tamil Nadu’s Tirunelveli, spent most of his life in Nagpur working in the private sector before moving to the UK and taking up a diplomatic post.
“I spent most of my life in Nagpur, which is a tier two city. I believe in the potential of tier 2 and 3 cities. So one of my goals is to do a lot of outreach visits to tier two cities. and tier three cities as well. We have a lot of inquiries from Thrissur, Calicut and Kottayam. So, the potential is there,” he said.
Speaking of Indian students who opted for the UK for higher studies and found it difficult to get a part-time job, Iyer said employment was at an all time low in the UK but opportunities were emerging.
“We live in very uncertain times. Who would have expected war or who would have expected inflation or a Silicon Valley bank crash? Eventualities happen. When students go there, they need to be a little more circumspect and also be careful.” . because of how well things are going for them,” she said.
He said there was a high demand for STEM professionals in the UK and Indian students had many opportunities in technical business and in the banking sector as well.
When asked about collaboration with the state government in the education sector, the British diplomat said he was interested in working with Kerala on student exchange and co-branding courses.
“British universities can come here and link up with the digital university or the university of Kerala or CUSAT,” he said, adding that they were looking to engage in collaborative activities in certain areas.
“We had a very good meeting with officials on certain key areas such as biomarine, AI and architecture. We will identify interested UK universities to connect them with state government,” Iyer said.
He said his team was committed to the state and planned to hold a big event in Kerala before the end of the year as part of King Charles III’s birthday celebrations.
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