Kochi: The UK is aiming at doubling its bilateral trade with India by 2015 and very keen to take the relationship to the next level, British Cabinet Minister for Communities and Local Government Eric Pickles said Wednesday.
"Close relationships are already paying off. On the national level we collaborate closely on everything from energy security to climate change and healthcare. We are looking at doubling our trade by 2015," he said.
The bilateral trade between the two countries was 12 billion pounds in 2012.
About 40,000 Indian students are studying in the UK and the British Council had trained nearly one million English language teachers covering over 17 million aspirational Indians, he said.
Pointing that this was a relationship with "room to grow" and was of "mutual benefit", he said it was time the two countries further boost the bilateral ties.
Britain was in the midst of an infrastructure boom, rolling out surefast broadband and laying down a national high-speed rail network to give the country the "backbone to compete on the global stage", the Minister said.
Pickles, who is leading a 20-member delegation from diverse fields, was speaking at a seminar titled 'UK built Environment Expertise' here.
The UK would also make use of opportunities in India, which was one of the largest markets, he said.
Promising a fair trading and one of the most friendly business environements in the world, the lowest level of Corporation Tax in the G7, the visiting Minister said he was delighted to be here 'cementing our bonds', drawing on British experience to help revitalise and regenerate Indian cities and help galvanise big transport projects.
Pickles said Kerala had a host of impressive major projects coming down the track from the Vizhinam International container terminal to the Palakkad National Investment and Manufacturing zone, which would give the state's manufacturing base a much needed stimulus.
"In Kerala, we find new UK-India partnerships blossoming. The special purpose vessels built at the Cochin Shipyard, which ensures safe marine navigation along the Indian coast, was designed and powered by Rolls Royce Marine. The shipyard is the first worldwide to deliver this specialist Rolls Royce series of Platform Supply vessel, he said.
The LNG terminal here will meet demand from the power, fertilisers and petrochemicals industries in the region.
The UK is looking at opportunities in Public Private Partnerships (PPP), transportation and infrastructure sectors among others in Kerala, he said.
"There are no limits... We are looking at PPP. We are also looking at transport and infrastructure," Pickles told reporters on the sidelines of the seminar.
Monorail and Metro rail projects are some of the other projects we are interested in, he added.