India Inc India Inc: Friday, 04 May 2018 15:26

Is Global India helping Brexit Britain?

by Manoj Ladwa

A recent CII/Grant Thornton report brings some good news about the health of the UK-India partnership, writes India Inc. Founder & CEO Manoj.

The UK could be facing down some disappointing economic results that suggest it has lost some competitive edge since voting to leave the European Union (EU).

Economic growth in the first quarter of the year was just 0.1 per cent, according to official figures, and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has reported that foreign direct investment (FDI) into the UK dropped by over £180 billion in 2017, compared to 2016.

However, it is difficult to have a pessimistic view.

The new 'India Meets Britain Tracker 2018' report, compiled by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and Grant Thornton, provides news of a wholly different sort. There are nearly 800 Indian companies operating in the UK, and many of them are growing faster than ever, recording revenues of £46.4 billion and employing nearly 105,000 people.

Indian companies are reaping significant returns on their investments in the UK. These are all strong signs for the health of the commercial partnership between the UK and India in 2018.

The long view

And in the long term? What about the roadmap to create a transformational partnership between the UK and India – one that will give the two partners far greater influence on the course that the global economy is taking?

According to the Grant Thornton Tracker, 87 of the fastest-growing Indian companies in the UK – across sectors ranging from technology and telecommunications to pharmaceuticals – together achieved an average annual growth rate of 44 per cent, seven of them achieving growth of over 100 per cent. There are more companies growing at an average annual rate of 10 per cent or more than there were a year ago; the UK is home to a growing number of India’s emerging businesses.

India Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visits to the Francis Crick Institute for the UK-India CEO Forum and, accompanied by HRH the Prince of Wales, to London’s Science Museum, reveal a leader focused on innovation and reinvention.

PM Modi is placing a bet on the transformation of the world economy and the uptick in demand for technological innovation – from clean energy to digitally-assisted manufacturing to fintech – to bring new sources of growth and economic productivity.

Global outlook

The global economic outlook is currently very mixed – with conflicting forces acting upon both advanced and emerging economies. The IMF has predicted that a "cyclical upswing" in the global economy – a boost in economic growth and trade across the world – will be dampened mostly by politically-motivated trade conflicts.

US President Donald Trump’s bitter trade dispute with China has led to increased trade tariffs and a foreboding atmosphere for businesses in the US but business leaders, investors and researchers looking to the future of global innovation are calling for co-operation with Asia.

Will Brexit be just as bitter for Britain? To judge by recent reports on the health of the UK-India partnership, the UK continues to be first choice for Indians in Europe. The UK will with the right approach, strong leadership, and policies continue to be the number one place to do business in Europe, if not the world.

UK-India Week 2018

Global India and Brexit Britain may be at a crossroads but Brexit Britain has the strong partnership it needs to stand out against the crowd.

In an age of global change and uncertainty, both advanced and emerging economies need the encouragement and dynamism to make big bets – on new technologies, new skills and talents, and innovative means of energy-generation and transport, and new patterns of economic growth.

India Inc.'s UK-India Week, taking place between June 18 and 22, invites delegates from the UK and India to tackle these challenges head on.

The fifth annual UK-India Leadership Conclave, on June 20 and 21, convenes leaders from business, politics and diplomacy to face the challenges head on in the only forum of its kind.

The IMF wants to paint the world grey with a gloomy analysis of the challenges facing global growth, but the transformational partnership between the UK and India is emerging in full colour.

Manoj Ladwa is the founder of India Inc. and chief executive of MLS Chase Group @manojladwa

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