UK asks India to further open financial sector

The UK on Tuesday asked India to further open the financial sector services like banking and insurance to boost investments between the two countries.

New Delhi: The UK on Tuesday asked India to further open the financial sector services like banking and insurance to boost investments between the two countries.

British Prime Minister David Cameron, who is leading the biggest business delegation from the UK, met members of the leading chambers, CII, Ficci and Assocham.

"The meeting the British Prime Minister was very positive. He asked Indian government to further open the financial sector services and increase cooperation in sectors like education and skill development," a CII official who was present in the meeting said.

The official said Cameron has assured a facilitative visa regime for Indian businessmen and students.

"On education, Cameron emphasised the need to enhance cooperation between British and Indian institutes on skill development. UK business community is very much interested in the Indian defence sector as well," the official added.

Besides CEOs of several companies, Ficci President Naina Lal Kidwai and CII President Adi Godrej were present in the meeting.

During the morning session, six round-table meetings took place on issues including manufacturing, education and innovation, financial sector, primary healthcare, infrastructure, retail and food.

"The meeting were very comprehensive. Both the sides discussed about various opportunities present in these areas in both the sides," a Ficci official who was present in the meeting said.

Taking note of emerging Indian infrastructure sector, UK side expressed interest in India's ambitious Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC) project, the official said, adding both the sides pressed to remove hurdles in boosting trade and investment between the countries.

"Issues like collaboration in defence sector including co-production, technology transfer, opening up of financial sector and cooperation among small and medium enterprises were discussed in great detail," he said.

On the skill development issue, business community of both the sides talked about partnership between Indian and UK institutes.

The bilateral trade between the nations stood at USD 16.25 billion in 2012.12. During April 2000 and November 2012, India has received FDI worth USD 17 billion from the UK.

Earlier during his discussions with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Cameron was asked to help in ensuring an early conclusion of a fair, balanced and forward looking broad-based India-EU Trade and Investment Agreement, which will open new opportunities for trade and investment between the two countries.

"We discussed ways to generate higher growth in our trade. I invited increased British investments in India, including in infrastructure and energy. We have asked our officials to explore British participation in India's National Manufacturing and Investment Zones and in a possible industrial corridor in the Mumbai-Bangalore sector," Singh said.

Cameron, who is in India on a three-day visit, flew into the national capital this morning from Mumbai where he had stayed for a night. In Mumbai, he had announced that UK will introduce same-day visa service for Indian businessmen wanting to invest there and also clarified that there was no limit on the number of incoming students from India.