UK India Story, a Promising Future powered by Technological Collaboration

By Divya Dwivedi, Anand Shukla

Firming up an alliance with the second-fastest growing economy in the world is a win-win deal for both India and the UK, and the recently concluded visit of PM Narendra Modi to the UK will likely go a long way in re-invigorating the UK-India relationship at a time when India is implementing a slew of reforms and the UK is close to exiting the European Union.

It serves as an opportunity for British, as well as Indian businesses to bolster the existing UK India partnership, allowing the two countries to evaluate issues, maximise the positives and unlock extreme potential, a viewpoint shared by our key panellists who gathered together in Delhi on 2 May to evaluate his trip.

The panel acknowledged that the UK and India are jointly creating the edifice of partnership on the foundations laid by the Joint Trade Review that concluded earlier this year. Both PM Modi and PM May remain keenly committed to explore new technologies, which are disruptive and bring efficiency. The future of the India-UK relationship will therefore depend on technological collaboration in ‘Sunrise’ sectors such as electric mobility, clean energy, innovation, digitisation, and cyber security – developing driver-less cars, virtual reality, clean energy, and artificial intelligence – which are touted to be growth drivers in the coming years.

It is clear that Industry 4.0 is creating ever-more opportunities for the UK and India to partner. The accelerating rate of adoption of AI, robotics, the Internet of Things, blockchain, data analytics, and other digital solutions are impacting every industrial sector, from manufacturing to financial services. The next natural transition being a UK-India Technology Partnership to support setting up technology hubs in India.

However, British investors need to develop state specific strategy for investments in India as it is diverse and offers different investment opportunities. This will also help them reap real benefits of ‘ease of doing business’. British universities and businesses should actively partner with Indian states, the central government, and the private sector to increase investments in technologies and research and development. Such, and only such, partnerships will create thousands of jobs and generate significant investment in both the economies with Start-ups and SMEs being the key contributors to this growth.

The panel concluded that to forge a dynamic new India-UK Partnership, there was a need to develop new trading arrangements as Britain assumes responsibility for its independent trade policy, reduce barriers to trade, make it easier to do business in both countries, facilitate investment in both directions, and intensify collaboration on shared or complementary strengths.

This will infuse new energy into the strategic business relationship, where both the governments will serve as enablers, while the businesses from both the sides will drive the economic growth.

Time for real action from both the governments and businesses, which goes beyond rhetoric – Transformative engagements based on technological complementarities for effective, sustainable and impactful economic relationship for a ‘Promising India UK Future’.

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