New Bri­tish premier makes first for­eign visit

7 Days in Dubai - - BUSINESS -

Bri­tish Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May and her In­dian coun­ter­part, Naren­dra Modi, have held wide-rang­ing aimed at deep­en­ing ties be­tween their coun­tries and boost­ing trade and in­vest­ment as the UK gets set to leave the Euro­pean Union.

May ar­rived in New Delhi late on Sun­day on her first trip out­side of Europe since she be­came prime min­is­ter in July. She was ac­com­pa­nied by trade of­fi­cials and a large busi­ness del­e­ga­tion con­sist­ing pre­dom­i­nantly of small and medi­um­sized busi­nesses.

Modi hopes to at­tract Bri­tish com­pa­nies to in­vest in In­dia and urge Bri­tain to ease visa re­stric­tions on In­dian busi­ness lead­ers trav­el­ling to the UK. Mean­while, May would like In­dian com­pa­nies to in­vest in Bri­tain. In re­cent years, In­dia has emerged as the third-big­gest in­vestor in Bri­tain, cre­at­ing thou­sands of new jobs as the UK pre­pares for its EU exit, or Brexit.

Ac­cord­ing to Bri­tain’s trade of­fice, In­dia is the sec­ond-largest in­ter­na­tional job cre­ator in the coun­try. In­dian com­pa­nies cur­rently em­ploy more than 100,000 peo­ple in the UK.

Ahead of talks yes­ter­day, Modi and May in­au­gu­rated a tech­nol­ogy sum­mit to boost trade in ad­vanced sci­en­tific and tech­nol­ogy busi­nesses.

“Bri­tain is open for busi­ness,” May told del­e­gates at the In­dia-UK Tech Sum­mit, billed as South Asia’s big­gest tech­nol­ogy con­fer­ence.

May said she would be “pro­mot­ing the best of Bri­tain, send­ing out the mes­sage that we are open for busi­ness, and mak­ing the most of the op­por­tu­ni­ties of­fered by Brexit as the world’s fore­most cham­pion of free trade”.

Modi said it was “vi­tal that In­dia and the United King­dom, two coun­tries linked by his­tory, work to­gether to de­fine the knowl­edge econ­omy of the 21st cen­tury”.

More than 65 years af­ter In­dia gained in­de­pen­dence from Bri­tish colo­nial rule, some of Bri­tain’s best-known brands are owned by In­dian com­pa­nies, in­clud­ing iconic names such as Jaguar and Land Rover cars and Tet­ley Tea.

MEET­ING: Theresa May with Naren­dra Modi yes­ter­day

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