May promises to relax Indian business travel norms to UK

British PM assures better India-UK trade relations

Business & Politics

News - India & You

November 7, 2016

/ By / Kolkata

Narendra Modi with the Prime Minister of United Kingdom, Theresa May, at Hyderabad House, in New Delhi

Narendra Modi with the UK Prime Minister, Theresa May at Hyderabad House, in New Delhi

Pledging to extend collaboration in trade between India and UK, British Prime Minister Theresa May underlines easier travel reforms for Indian business travellers to Britain.

In her first bilateral visit to India (also her first trip out of Europe) after taking the charge as the British Prime Minister in July, May seems to be following the paths of her predecessors promising healthy relationship between the two countries. Along with the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, May was inaugurating the India-UK Tech Summit in New Delhi. Both the leaders were in sink of thoughts pledging to nurture collaboration in socio-economic reforms as well as research to fight global challenges.

“There is so much potential when it comes to India and Britain relationship, we share a special bond,” said the British Prime Minister. Responding to concerns over the strict visa regimes for Indian travellers to the UK, May announced that travel to UK for Indian travellers will be made easy.

United Kingdom registered a record-breaking 3.8 million inbound visitors in August. May launched a Tourism Action Plan in August to ensure that Britain remains a top destination for visitors from across the globe. India remains a key growth market for the UK along with China and the Gulf countries. Latest Flight booking numbers from India for the period of October to December is up by 11 pc, according to ForwardKeys, a Big Data and Business Intelligence provider for the travel industry.

Consequently, business travelling from India to UK is set to witness a huge growth after May’s announcement about visas and easier travel norms get into effect. Taking a cue from the announcement made by May during her speech at the Tech Summit, frequent business travellers will have to fill fewer forms and can enjoy swifter passage through British airports. “We will offer, for the first time to any country that needs visas to enter Britain, what we call ‘Registered Traveller’ scheme,” May added.

 India-UK trade boost

The British Prime Minister in her three day visit to India allegedly aims to initiate dialogues in various fronts that would encourage bilateral trade relationships. In her inaugural speech at the India-UK Tech Summit, May confirmed that the Indian investment helps the United Kingdom in diversifying their economy as they are primarily focussing on economic and social reforms.

The three-day visit to India will mark the launching of a major India-UK Urban Partnership on smart cities and urban development. Both the Prime Ministers hope that this would unlock opportunities and new businesses worth GBP 2 billion over the next five years.

Praising his counterpart for her visit to India, the Indian Prime Minister reminded how India remains the third-largest investor in the UK for the last five years. Modi pointed out sectors such as healthcare, clean energy and technology that promises huge potential for India-UK businesses in the future. “Science is universal but technology has to be local,” he said while addressing the media and participants in the Tech Summit. “Such summits throw an opportunity to understand each other’s requirements,” Modi added.

FICCI Forum aims bilateral dialogues

The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) have formed a forum of parliamentarians as an initiative to cement bilateral ties between India and UK. The forum aims at a series of dialogues on topics of critical significance to both the countries including the proposed Free Trade Agreement (FTA) post Brexit.

Along with Parliamentary diplomacy that binds India and the UK, the Forum will bring together MPs across political ideologies, age group and gender and will be chaired by Rajya Sabha MP and scholar, Dr. Vinay Sahasrabuddhe.

Welcoming the timely move, Dr. Sahasrabuddhe said, “In the light of recent developments in Europe, the relevance of greater co-operation between India and Britain has greatly enhanced. Social and civil values like Democracy, Universal fraternity, Open economy and Desire to engage for mutual benefit are common to both.”

President FICCI Harshavardhan Neotia added, “As India’s national industry association, FICCI has a multi-pronged international outreach strategy. Through the India UK Forum of Parliamentarians, our endeavour is to supplement traditional channels of engagement by creating a track two dialogue process to build greater understanding between elected representatives of India and U.K. in a cordial atmosphere and a neutral platform. In the coming months, we look forward to rolling out a series of initiatives under the guidance of Dr. Sahasrabuddhe”

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