Ahmedabad: The UK and India should stress on developing the SME sector and also give impetus to small shops which are the "backbone" of economies of both the countries, a senior British official said today.
"India and the UK should focus on developing the SME sector. We are the countries of small shoppers and these small shops are our economy's backbone. We have to develop them," British Member of Parliament and Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury Priti Patel said here.
She was speaking during an interaction session with an industrial body 'Gujarat Chamber of Commerce and Industry' (GCCI).
Describing year 2014 as "ground-breaking" for India, Patel said the country is emerging as the global force on world stage.
Hailing the Union Government met led by Narendra Modi, the British MP said that when she visited New Delhi in July along with her colleagues and mother, she could see "hope and excitement" among the people of India.
"Modi looks at the Indo-UK relationship in a vibrant and dynamic way," she said.
Talking about the Indian diaspora in the UK, she said, "We have Gujarati community in the UK expanding their commerce and business. One third of UK's (Indian) diaspora is Gujarati. We will continue as one of the strong voices for investment opportunities in India."
There are 700 Indian businesses in the UK, which employs 100,000 people, she said, adding those businesses run into 11-16 billion pounds in 2013.
She also said that the UK plans to set a trade centre in Ahmedabad.
"Our ambition is to set up a trade centre in Ahmedabad, where all can engage in new business sector and also SMEs can get help...It is fulfilling to be here in Gujarat. The state is vibrant we all know that. We speak about our shared future as a country and as a state. Successful economy is the heart of development in every nation," she said.
Replying to a question on easing the visa process for Indian students, Patel said the UK always welcomes Indian students and hundreds of thousands of Indian students are studying in various universities in UK.