India and the UK on Thursday signed deals worth 9-billion pound as the two countries inked a civil nuclear pact and decided to collaborate in Defense and Cyber Security sector. Besides, six significant business agreements were signed as well during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s maiden visit to UK. In a move to bolster commerce, a railway rupee bond too has been launched in the London market. The Prime Minister is set to address the large gathering of Indian community at Wembley stadium in London on Friday.
The decisions were announced during a joint press interaction by PM Modi and UK Prime Minister David Cameron in London after their 90-minute wide-ranging talks at 10 Downing Street, the latter’s official residence.
Describing the Indo-UK relations as a “new dynamic modern partnership”, the British PM reiterated his country’s support for India’s permanent membership of the UN Security Council.
“We want to become the number one partners to finance the immense economic vision of Prime Minister Modi and make London the centre for off-shore rupee trading with the launch of 1-billion worth of bonds including the first government-backed rupee denominated bond,” David Cameron told the press after the talks.
On his part, PM Modi said, “We are going to use the London market for fundraising even more and I am happy to announce that we are set to launch a railway rupee bond in London.”
Talking about an all-important civil nuclear deal, Prime Minister Narendra Modi once again emphasised India’s “commitment” to cleaner energy. “The conclusion of the civil nuclear agreement is a symbol of our mutual trust and our resolve to combat climate change. The agreement for cooperation in India’s Global Centre for Clean Energy Partnerships will strengthen safety and security in the global nuclear industry,” PM Modi said.
Adding that India attaches great value to defence and security cooperation with UK, Prime Minister Modi said, “This cooperation will grow. I am also pleased that UK will participate in the International Fleet Review in India in February 2016. UK will also be a strong partner in India’s defence modernization plans, including our Make in India mission in defence sector.”
Besides, India and UK also sealed six significant business agreements in the 9-billion pound deal.
Among those agreements, Vodafone will invest 1.3-billion pound in upgrading and expanding its network in India and will be creating new tech centres in Pune and Hyderabad. In the field of energy, Light Source will be investing 2 billion pounds in India to design and manage 3GW of solar power over next five years, while the firm Intelligent Energy signed a 1.2-billion pound contract to provide clean energy to 27,400 telecoms towers in India and towards the deployment of hydrogen fuel cell power.
In health sector, King’s College Hospitals Foundation Trust and Indo-UK Healthcare will be setting up a hospital in Chandigarh. This will be the first of 11 new India-UK hospitals in India.
India Bulls has also agreed to invest 66 million pound in British start-up bank Oaknorth, while Yes Bank and London Stock Exchange (LSE) signed a bond and equity issuance deal in green infrastructure finance and have future plans to issue a green bond to the tune of 300 million pounds.
Speaking before a business audience at the historic Guildhall in the heart of the city of London’s financial district London, Prime Minister Modi stressed that “necessary conditions” for take-off of the Indian economy have been created, further adding that it will get “better and better” in the coming days.
“Necessary conditions for take-off of the Indian economy have been created. Never before, India was so well prepared to absorb talent, technology and investment from outside. I can assure you that it will get better and better in the coming days,” said PM Modi.
“We will be open to welcome your ideas, innovations and enterprises. We are open to carry out necessary corrections in our policies and procedures,” he added while addressing the gathering.
UK ranks 18th in the list of India’s top 25 trading partners and two-way trade in 2014-15 stood at USD 14.34 billion. The UK is the third largest inward investor in India, after Mauritius and Singapore, with a cumulative equity investment of USD 22.26 billion between 2000-2015.
(With inputs from the PTI)