At the Indian Professionals Forum event Chatham House on March 8th, the Labour Shadow Chancellor expressed his strong commitment towards forging strong economic relations with a fast-growing India. The keynote address was followed by a panel discussion featuring Chatham House’s Asia Programme Head Dr Champa Patel, Maggie Rodriguez-Piza, Chief Executive of Funding London, Jaime Reed, Head UK Civil Space Exports at Airbus Defence and Space, and, TS Narayanan of Colt Technology. The panellists raised concern about a flight of talent from Britain because of Brexit.
Jaime Reed, Head UK Civil Space Exports at Airbus Defence and Space said, “We are working hard today to become global. We want to build local supply chains. India has fantastic talent. We need to involve Indian engineers in start-ups, telecoms and data. We want to do this with India. We also want to explore how to get together with India to grow in space sector.” On Brexit, he said, “We are worried about Brexit. It will affect our R&D. We cannot invest in UK without public support. Countries like India might benefit. On the other hand, benefit from Brexit is that it is forcing us to look globally and India stands out to be a good idea for future.”
Maggie Rodriguez-Piza, Chief Executive of Funding London, said, “We invest in C stage tech companies. It is very representative of what’s happening in London. UK market is too small, even European market is too small. We want to look to India. We work with mayor of London to help them access those markets. Ability for companies to navigate these markets is difficult. We want to see more export supporting networks.” On Brexit, she said, “Biggest concern we have is access to talent- we need high skilled labour coming in. Since referendum we have seen a sharp decline in talent coming from Europe. Sitting here in London, the impact of Brexit is felt very heavily.”
TS Narayanan of Colt Technology, said, India and Brexit Britain can have a strong symbiotic relationship. He said there was no dearth of ideas in India, but the challenge is that for India’s future potential to be realised India will have to educate 120 million people. “Traditional education methods won’t work. Robotics, tech can help. India has scale. So, symbiotic investment with India will help Britain. India does not have maturity of technology. UK can help here.”
In his concluding remarks, Dinesh K. Patnaik, Deputy High Commissioner, India, said, “It’s true that India-UK trade has stalled. We need to look outside London for growth – we need to look at the Northern powerhouse. SMEs from UK also need help to go to India. We need to focus on that. Future lies in symbiotic relationship- there is scale in India. In return, India needs advance technology, Britain can play a crucial role here.
Dr Mohan Kaul, Chairman IPF, said, “Brexit offers great opportunity for Britain and India to forge closer ties. An appropriate Technological and Financial Eco System will encourage Innovation, energy and enterprise from young engineers and start-ups to provide a tremendous boost to the UK tech industry in the years ahead and the scope for collaboration between professionals of both countries are great.
“About 15% of start-ups in Silicon Valley in USA are set up by Indian entrepreneurs. There is a tremendous opportunity of growth in the UK given the appropriate technological and financial eco-system. Indian businesses and professionals can be integral part of its future,“ he added.