Sir Vince Cable and Indian High Commissioner to the UK make keynote speeches at Chatham House launch event
Making sure the voice of Indian professionals in the UK is heard as the UK government takes important decisions on Brexit and after is the objective of a new network, the Indian Professionals Forum (IPF) that met at Chatham House, London, for the first time last night (Wednesday 22 November).
Keynote addresses at the Indian Professionals Forum (IPF) event were given by Liberal Democrats Leader The Rt Hon Sir Vince Cable and the Indian High Commissioner to the UK His Excellency Y K Sinha.
This was followed by a panel discussion featuring Chatham House’s Asia Programme Head Dr Champa Patel, ICICI Bank UK CEO Sudhir Dole, Herbert Smith Freehills LLP’s India Practice Chair Chris Parsons, Centre for Economics & Business Research Deputy Chairman Douglas McWilliams and Red Ribbon Asset Management PLC Founder Suchit Punnose.
Links between the two countries are strong. The 2011 Census for England and Wales showed Indian was the third largest ethnic group with 1.4 million people (2.5% of the population). Roughly half the UK’s 2 million Indians are highly skilled professionals, working in business, government, healthcare, education, technology and other sectors.
Trade and investment between the two nations is vital now and for the future. The UK is the single largest G20 investor in India, and supports close to 800,000 jobs, according to the CBI’s second Sterling Assets India report. Between 2000 and 2016, the UK invested $24.07 billion in India – increasing its investment by $1.87 billion between 2015 and 2016 – representing 8% of all foreign direct investment (FDI) into the country. Meanwhile, India is the third largest investor in UK creating thousands of new jobs, employing 110,000 people in 800 Indian companies with a turnover of 47.5 billion pounds in 2016.
Sir Vince Cable said: “India is now a major economic power – on some measures the third largest in the world after China and the US. It is very much in Britain’s long-term interest to welcome Indian investment, students and professionals, and to have a stronger, deeper relationship with India.”
Indian High Commissioner to the UK His Excellency Y K Sinha said: “UK and India are important partners in diverse fields like innovation, IT and IT-enables services, R&D, fintech, science and technology, skill development, health, environment, aerospace and so on. Brexit provides an opportunity to further expand the scale and scope of our vibrant and robust collaboration. Indian professionals in the UK are already playing a hugely important role in these and other areas, contributing to strengthening this winning partnership. I am sanguine the newly formed Indian Professionals Forum can contribute significantly in enhancing our mutually beneficial cooperation and at the same time collaborate in developing cutting edge and niche technology.”
IPF President Dr Mohan Kaul said: “The Indian Professionals Forum provides a powerful platform for the Indian diaspora to shape the debate on issues that affect them and the Nation. The future provides enormous opportunities for Indian professionals to participate in the development of both countries. IPF will also act as a focus for the important issues and a catalyst for exchanges of ideas for the future of partnerships between our two great nations. IPF particularly aims to harness the intellectual capital of the diaspora to find stimulating ideas and credible solutions to the challenges faced by India.
Dr Kaul added that, “the IPF hopes to work with London Business School, the Indian Institute Of Management, Ahmedabad and other institutions in sharing experiences and developing joint programmes, for example in the areas of digitisation for all and skills enhancement.
Indian innovation, energy and enterprise from young engineers and start-ups will provide a tremendous boost to the UK tech industry in the years ahead and the opportunities for collaboration between professionals of both countries are great.”
The inaugural IPF meeting panel discussion covered a number of topics including: