Britain and India should work on a mutually reinforcing preferential bilateral trade and investment agreement post-Brexit, a senior Indian leader said today.
Delivering a lecture on the theme of 'India-UK Engagement: A Partnership for the Future' at the University of Birmingham, former law minister Ashwani Kumar called for an "evolving, maturing and a mutually reinforcing" UK-India relationship to tackle the challenges of future.
"Brexit is indeed a compelling circumstance for Britain to build upon its special relationship with India and to begin work on a mutually reinforcing preferential bilateral trade and investment agreement for the future," Kumar said.
"As one of the highest ranked destinations for the ease of doing business, UK continues to inspire confidence as an investment destination. The lure of London as the preferred centre for finance, shipping and insurance, and the lowering of corporate tax and interest rates in Britain are expected to blunt the negative impact of the vote on India-UK economic engagement," he added.
He underlined the post-Brexit depreciation of the pound as an expected spur for Indian investments in the UK and British businesses opening up to the increased possibilities for major investments in the Indian defence, security and nuclear energy sectors.
Kumar, who is in the UK as part of a worldwide lecture tour including Johns Hopkins University in the US, also drew on history to build his case for a stronger modern-day India-UK partnership.
"While our experience as a colony of an imperial power with its attendant inequities is a foot print of history and cannot be washed away, the future of the UK-India relationship cannot be held hostage to debilitating memories nor can 'history's arrears' be created anew," he noted.
He said the two nations are destined to build upon a shared and indivisible commitment to democracy, equality, inclusion, liberalism and all that promotes the greatest happiness of the largest number in larger freedom.
He said the challenges of the 21st century which confront humanity as a whole require a united response.
"In an interdependent world that does not permit nations to remain as islands insulated from events beyond their borders, the challenge is to nurture a global perspective without having our national and cultural identities subsumed in a shrinking world," he added.
From the UK, Dr Kumar will head to Ireland this week as a visiting fellow at Trinity College in Dublin.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)