Arun Jaitley meets UK Chancellor Osborne, reviews economic ties

 Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Friday met UK Chancellor George Osborne and reviewed progress made since 2010 in strengthening and deepening cooperation between Britain and India on economic and financial issues, including increased inward investment in each other's economies.

PTI| Updated: Mar 13, 2015, 18:35 PM IST

London: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Friday met UK Chancellor George Osborne and reviewed progress made since 2010 in strengthening and deepening cooperation between Britain and India on economic and financial issues, including increased inward investment in each other's economies.

Jaitley arrived here earlier today on his first official visit and began his two-day UK tour with a bilateral meeting with Osborne over breakfast.

Osborne hailed the "increasingly important" relationship between Britain and India's economies.

"Building on our already strong relationship with India has been a key priority of this government. At the heart of our long term economic plan is developing closer links with fast-growing emerging markets like India ? links that benefit both countries in terms of growth and jobs," Osborne said after meeting Jaitley at his office at No 11 Downing Street.

The senior Conservative Party minister also welcomed Jaitley's presence at the unveiling of the "symbolic statue" of Mahatma Gandhi at Parliament Square in London tomorrow.

He said, "Together we will celebrate the unveiling of the Gandhi statue in Parliament Square, which I announced on my visit to India last July on a trip to see Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi. I'm delighted work has progressed so quickly and honoured that Finance Minister Jaitley is here to unveil this symbolic statue".

"Our cultural ties with UK are just as important as our economic links, and this visit is also an opportunity for the Indian government to meet the British Indian community and see their enormous contribution. It is with great pleasure that I have accepted Prime Minister (David) Cameron's invitation to attend the inauguration of the new statue of Gandhi in Parliament Square in London," Jaitley said.

The pair went on to discuss further progress made since 2010 in strengthening and deepening cooperation between Britain and India on economic and financial issues, including increased inward investment in each other's economies.

"Nurturing and expanding the financial partnership between the UK and India has been a key objective of the government since 2010, so it is great that today we've been able to announce further progress towards this during finance minister Jaitley's visit to London," said Priti Patel, exchequer secretary to the Treasury and the Prime Minister's 'Indian Diaspora Champion', who met Jaitley after the talks.

"We will continue to build ever closer engagement with the Indian government, so that both of our great nations can benefit from the economic and cultural rewards," she added. 

The UK government stressed its credentials as the biggest major investor in India in the G20, with India investing more in the UK than in the rest of the European Union combined.

The two affirmed the importance of continuing progress in the future, building on each nation's respective strengths.

During their meeting, the two ministers welcomed the announcement that Mumbai-based manufacturing and energy firm Indsur Group have invested 25 million pounds in their UK operations, which include the newly acquired Newcastle-based thermal engineering firm, Henderson Site Services.

The firm will also invest in upgrading and other new acquisitions over six months as part of Indsur Group's consolidation and investments in the UK.

The Narendra Modi-led government's commitment towards addressing concerns around retrospective taxation are expected to feature heavily during Jaitley's talks with a range of institutional investors at the London Stock Exchange (LSE), given the backdrop of UK-based Cairn Energy's dispute over a USD 1.6 billion tax bill.

Jaitley will be welcomed to the financial district of London by LSE CEO Xavier Rolet followed by discussions with leading UK-based banking groups as well as an accompanying Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) delegation including FICCI president and Bharat Hotels chairperson Jyotsna Suri, Rajan Bharati Mittal of Bharti Enterprises and Neeraj Kanwar of Apollo Tyres, among others.

The launch of a new branch of Union Bank of India and an address on 'Investment Opportunities in India' at an event co-organised by FICCI, the UK India Business Council (UKIBC) and the Indian High Commission here is set for later today.

Jaitley will end his first official day in the UK with a more informal gathering organised by the Indian diaspora group, NRI Foundation, at the Taj Hotel in central London.