Britain seeks new partnership with India: London Mayor
New Delhi: On a mission to promote investment opportunities in the UK, visiting London Mayor Boris Johnson Monday pitched for a "new and great partnership" with India to help double the bilateral trade by 2015.
"Britain is open to investments from India in a big way," he said during an interaction with senior editors here while seeking to ally the perception that doing business with Britain is very difficult.
Bilateral trade grew by 26 percent touching 16.4 billion pounds in 2011, up from 13 billion pounds in 2010. India is the fifth largest investor in the UK. Of the 1,200 Indian companies in the European Union, about 700 are in Britain.
Last year, Britain's exports to India increased by 29 percent, making India its largest non-EU market. "There are so many areas where we can move together," he said.
Asked about complaints of a tedious process in getting British visas, Johnson acknowledged that there were some issues.
"The politicians are trying to sort out the immigration mess. The sooner we fix it, the better it will be," he said.
He was asked about the large number of documents that are required to be filled with annexures for getting British visas.
Johnson, who is on a six-day trip that will also take him to Hyderabad and Mumbai, said he was struck by the incredible speed of urbanisation in India and saw immense potential for collaboration in diversified fields, including mass transit.
The Mayor also spoke of the immense potential in the education sector. Britain, he said, has four of the world's top universities and offers huge scope for Indian students wishing to pursue higher studies.
London, he said, has become the most visited city in the world. This year, London had 6.9 million people coming from abroad.
He said London has also become a favourite destination for shooting of Bollywood films. "We have a lot to offer," he added.