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UK And India Discuss Initiatives For Deeper Economic Ties

george osborne and arun jaitleyUK Chancellor George Osborne and Indian Finance Minister Arun Jaitley met in London as a part of the 8th UK & India Financial & Economic Dialogue and agreed on a number of key initiatives to enhance economic ties between the two nations. The meeting is expected to carry forward the momentum built by Prime Minister Modi’s initial visit to UK last year.

The latest edition of talks included senior representatives from each country’s Finance Ministries, Central Banks and key regulators of both countries. The two nations discussed new investment initiatives as well as structural reforms and fiscal policies required to boost trade and employment in a scenario where a global slowdown is becoming very likely.

Initiatives in infrastructure, financial & legal services played a key role in these discussions. In a statement, Arun Jaitley, Indian Finance Minister said,

Given the fact that even in a somewhat difficult global scenario, India is managing a reasonable growth rate, this is one of the better options that investors have and that kind of a sentiment gets really echoed in the meetings with the investors that we had. Of course, the investors are also keenly watching which way our reform process in India goes.

The topic of infrastructure was one of the main topics discussed as it continues to be a primary focus for both nations and led to discussions covering investment opportunities available for UK companies who want to participate in India’s major infrastructure projects.

Jaitley said that India was keen on large UK companies especially those in infrastructure financing to invest in its projects. These investment opportunities are expected encompass projects across smart cities, railways and renewable energy.

An India-UK partnership fund under the National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) is expected to be set up to increase flows of private sector capital and expertise into the Indian infrastructure sector.

The two nations acknowledged the success of ‘Masala Bonds’ which were issued by the International Finance Cooperation during PM Modi’s visit and agreed that London was an attractive location for issuance of rupee-denominated bonds. A similar strategy to develop new bonds to fund Indian infrastructure projects was also discussed.

There was also an agreement to work on building commercial and regulator-to-regulator links to support FinTech growth in both countries, which would also create a platform for UK FinTech companies to play a role in helping India achieve its goal which is labelled “Digital India.” Both sides also discussed concerns that were raised due to cross-border tax evasion schemes and UK and India have agreed to abide by the Common Reporting Standards (CRS) on Automatic Exchange of Tax Information.

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