2030 Roadmap for India-UK future relations – Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering

By Prasenjit Dhar

In the recent virtual summit held on 4th May, 2021 between the UK and Indian governments, the two Prime Ministers announced the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership between our two countries. Alongside the CSP, they announced an ambitious 2030 Roadmap on which the UK-India partnership and future relations will be based.

Five key areas – people-to-people connect (building on the “living bridge” that already exists); trade and economic cooperation; defence and security; climate and energy transition; and health have been identified as the pillars of this bilateral relationship.

An important thread that links most of these five areas is the focus that has been rightly put on innovation, collaborative R&D and co-creation in the advanced engineering and manufacturing sector. These will help build globally competitive and sustainable supply chains to support manufacturing growth in both the countries. In the joint statement issued by the two PMs after the summit, “Both leaders recognised the importance of securing reliable and sustainable supply chains that are resilient to major disruptions like the current pandemic and agreed to support the diversification of global supply chains.”

The Indian government has identified certain high-technology advanced manufacturing areas and has announced major incentives to boost the set-up of export-led manufacturing strategy at a global scale. On top of this, collaboration with UK business will help Indian supply chains access high-end technologies and make them globally competitive.

The 2030 Roadmap for India UK Future Relations has clearly identified this as a key area of cooperation. It mentions, “Encourage UK companies to invest in India’s manufacturing sector taking advantage of the Production Linked Incentive Scheme including in Electronics, Telecommunication equipment, automotive and pharmaceuticals manufacturing.”

The Roadmap also mentions Identifying priority areas for partnership and investment in existing and new areas of cooperation between the UK and India in diverse sectors including, new and renewable energy, advanced engineering, agri-tech, creative industries, healthcare and life sciences including pharmaceuticals, infrastructure, metallurgy, automotive and agricultural engineering, defence, and food processing industry. My colleagues and I at UKIBC have already been working closely in many of these areas through our sector groups comprising our members and clients.

India has already been focusing on strengthening its domestic supply chain base over the last few years. I would highlight the Access India Programme (AIP) which has just completed its second phase. AIP is a flagship market entry support programme of the High Commission of India, London and is the first of its kind in supporting UK businesses with innovative products and technologies to enter the Indian market. At UKIBC, we are very proud to have been selected as the Knowledge Partner for The High Commission of India for both phases and have worked closely with the HCI to make the programme a success. At the close of second phase of AIP (AIP-II), we are supporting around 70 UK businesses – mainly medium and small businesses – through the programme. A number of these businesses have already successfully entered the Indian market and more are in the process. For more information on AIP visit accessindiauk.com.

Finally, the Roadmap 2030 has identified the need to step up bilateral SME trade and collaborations, particularly technology sharing and financing of businesses. This, along with the UK-India Development Capital Partnerships, will help strengthen two-way investments between UK and India, with the goal of investing into Indian start-ups, early-stage and green businesses and other innovative ventures, contributing towards sustainable development.

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