The Indian Professionals Forum (IPF), a non-profit think tank for Indian diaspora related policy advocacy and a members' club, is aimed as a collective voice to strengthen the participation of Indian-origin professionals in the mainstream and help identify opportunities to contribute towards the development of India-UK relations.
"The concept of this forum was prompted by the result of the referendum on Britain's membership of the European Union (EU) last year and seeks to emphasise that, Brexit or no Brexit, the UK will continue to be a destination of choice for Indian professionals," said Dr Mohan Kaul, the president of the new forum, at a launch event at Chatham House in London yesterday.
The forum, open to academics, artists, scientists, engineers, business people and entrepreneurs and backed by the Indian High Commission in Britain, will encourage its members to participate in high-level policy advocacy and help identify such opportunities.
"A general forum of Indian professionals was a void that needed to be filled. There are a very large number of Indian professionals in diverse fields across the UK, making an invaluable contribution to the UK and also to India-UK relations," said Y K Sinha, the Indian High Commissioner to the UK.
He said that as Indian professionals will play an important role in defining the "contours of a winning partnership between India and the UK", freer movement of professionals between the two countries will be central to any mutually beneficial agreement in the future.
Describing some of the major developments in India, including around the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST), as "truly revolutionary", the Indian envoy stressed that it was the right time for UK-based professionals across different sectors to be looking at collaborations in India.
"The efforts being made by the government to transform the Indian economy are bearing fruit. It will take time but the direction that things are headed will ensure that the Indian economy will grow rapidly," he added.
The launch of the forum was also attended by the leader of the Liberal Democrat party, Vince Cable, who hailed the economic reforms in India and stressed the importance of building a stronger relationship with India amid the "big uncertainty of Brexit".
"The UK has got much more to gain from India than the other way around," concluded Chris Parsons, Chair of UK India Business Council (UKIBC), India.