High Commissioner of India to the UK visits South Yorkshire to strengthen regional ties with India

By Kealan Finnegan

On Thursday 10th and Friday 11th March, the Mayor of South Yorkshire, Dan Jarvis MP, welcomed Her Excellency Gaitri Issar Kumar, the High Commissioner of India to the UK, to the region to celebrate and develop the thriving partnership that spans trade, investment, education and the all- important people-to-people connections.

The first day of the visit, which was facilitated by UK India Business Council, the South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority and the High Commission of India, included engagements at the Olympic Legacy Park, Advanced Wellbeing Research Centre, the National Centre of Excellence for Food Engineering, and a networking occasion with leading members of the Indian diaspora.

The High Commissioner also met with students and staff at the University of Sheffield and at Sheffield Hallam University. In both cases, Ms Kumar met Indian students and heard from university staff about their ongoing partnerships with India and their exciting plans for the future.

Later, the High Commissioner visited the Barnsley Digital Media Centre, where she interacted with a dynamic, tech-rich businesses interested in the opportunities in India.

The final leg of the visit was to the University of Sheffield’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre, home of talent and technology that can support the Indian’s Government’s Make in India campaign.

High Commissioner Gaitri Issar Kumar, said: “This has been a most useful visit to South Yorkshire at the invitation of Mayor Dan Jarvis – following up on previous interactions between High Commission of India and SYMCA. We experienced, first hand, the uniquely creative ecosystem of the Sheffield Region – the AMRC, Digital Media Centre, and, particularly, Sheffield University and Sheffield Hallam University where we interacted with researchers and students – including Indian students.

These centres of research and innovation, commercialisation of cutting-edge technology and its integration into applied science, healthcare, sports and defence manufacturing, have much to offer Indian industry, our institutes of technology and potential Indian partners in technological innovation.  With robotics, AI and digital technology being a key area of focus in our S&T dialogue, there is tremendous scope for enhanced collaboration between Indian institutions and UK counterparts in these sectors. We look forward to facilitating a visit by SYMCA to India.”

Mayor Dan Jarvis, said: “This has been a brilliant opportunity to showcase South Yorkshire’s unparalleled strengths in innovation and industry, from rice processing to translational research. It’s a great step in the process of collaboration and exchange between our region and India which has such great potential for both sides. We’re learning, we’re building, and we’re deepening our partnership every day.”

Kevin McCole, UKIBC Managing Director said: “This was a really productive visit, not least because there are clear and extensive complementarities between South Yorkshire and India. As we have seen in the last two days, there are already great connections with India across manufacturing, life science and healthcare, education, and digital technology. And, with the opportunities potentially growing under a future UK-India FTA, we look forward to supporting more brilliant South Yorkshire businesses to be a part of the region’s India growth story and more Indian businesses to enter and expand across SYMCA.”

The South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority, which operates its India Growth Champions Scheme, in association with the UK India Business Council, has also seen strong demand recently from businesses for support and guidance with increasing exports to India, building on the 447 businesses currently exporting to India. In particular, the region shares a strong connection with the State of Maharashtra, and plans are in place for a South Yorkshire delegation led by Mayor Jarvis to visit the state later this year.

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