25th July 2011 Time 1:00 P.M. - 1:15 P.M.
Let me convey my gratitude to Chancellor Osborne and his colleagues for welcoming me and my delegation in London today for the fourth session of Economic and Financial Dialogue. India and UK share a strategic partnership which is based on strong historical and cultural relations of shared value and traditions. During the visit of Prime Minister Cameron to India in July last year, we saw our relations being elevated to an 'Enhanced Partnership for the Future'.
2. India and UK continue to be major partners in many areas, particularly so in the area of trade and investment. More than 600 Indian companies are located here and India has become the third largest investor in the UK in 2010. The UK is the fourth largest investor in India with significant investments in sectors like services, oil and gas, ports and electronics. Our endeavour is to take our bilateral trade and investment ties to their fullest potential.
3. During our meeting today, we have had constructive discussions on a whole range of issues of mutual relevance to our two countries. We have agreed to strengthen bilateral cooperation and continue the efforts to sustain economic growth. We agreed to pursue these goals through bilateral and multilateral fora such as the G20. We have also agreed to strengthen our financial sector collaboration and to work for further deepening of our relations in the financial services sector for mutual benefit.
4. The Indian economy has shown resilience in the wake of the global financial crisis. In the last financial year, with a GDP growth rate of 8.5 per cent, we have been the fastest to recover and among the economies with the highest growth rates in the world. We are close to our pre-crisis growth momentum.
5. India is committed to economic reforms and promoting a more investor friendly and efficient environment that supports Foreign Direct Investments and collaborations for promoting growth, stability and prosperity of the global economy. We have reverted to the path of fiscal consolidation and are in the process of deepening policy reforms in the financial sector and addressing gaps in the overall economic regulatory architecture. A number of steps have been taken to simplify the administrative procedures concerning taxation, trade and tariff and social transfers and placing them on electronic interface so that these are free of discretion and bureaucratic delays.
6. We intend to double India's exports in the next three years to reach a level of US $500 billion. The Government has announced a manufacturing policy to increase the share of manufacturing from the present 16% per cent to a level of 25 per cent of GDP over the next decade.
7. There are significant opportunities for British investment in India, particularly in the infrastructure sector. The Indian Government has targeted an ambitious infrastructure investment of one trillion dollars in its Twelfth Five Year Plan starting from 2012. We have recently outlined the structure for Infrastructure Debt Funds to harness offshore and onshore pension/insurance funds in accessing long tenor loans for Public Private Partnership projects. These funds would enjoy reduction in withholding tax and exemption from income tax.
8. There are also opportunities for British investments in engaging in the areas of science and technology, food processing, agriculture sector, energy security including collaboration in renewable energy sources, higher education and culture.
9. Before concluding, I, once again, convey my gratitude to Chancellor Osborne for hosting us. We will continue to work closely throughout the year and I am very much looking forward to the next round of talks in 2012 in New Delhi.