The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and Deloitte UK released a joint report on doing business with the UK titled Eyes Wide Open at its annual India conference in London this week.
The report is based on interviews conducted with senior executives at Indian companies operating in the UK across a range of sectors between 2011 and 2012. The over-arching themes thrown up by the survey include London’s continued predominance as a hub for Indian companies with a global appetite and the UK as a rewarding marketplace for new entrants with a clear strategy.
It underpinned the CII’s conference agenda to explore how the India-UK partnership could help revive and restore economic growth for both countries.
Jaguar Land Rover (JLR), owned by Tata Motors, is one such Indian success story in the UK that has helped drive growth in the largely stagnating British automotive sector.
Mike Wright, executive director of JLR, pointed out that the turnaround is entirely a result of a simple growth-centric business plan put in place by Tata Motors when it acquired the iconic brands back in 2008.
“We are now the largest automotive employer in the UK and our global footprint forms the basis of our success. Growth in the manufacturing industry is crucial to overall economic growth. And, manufacturing growth encompasses a much broader issue of investment in research and development. If we don’t invest in R&D, we won’t have something to manufacture,” he added.
A slow rate of manufacturing growth is a common economic factor shared by the UK and India. While the visiting CEOs delegation from India – led by CII president Adi Godrej – acknowledged it as a concern, there was general consensus on the prospects of acceleration.
The chairman of the Godrej Group said: “Despite a recent deceleration of growth, India remains a very attractive place to invest as demand will continue to rise and currency valuations offer favourable returns during a downturn. The manufacturing sector offers major potential, with new government policy creating manufacturing zones that will offer hassle-free regulatory clearances.”
With nearly 250 million jobs to be created in India by 2025, the CEOs highlighted the central role to be played by the manufacturing sector in the coming years.
As Wright concluded: “The large gap in the skills base for this sector can be addressed only if we can make manufacturing sexy for school kids.”