Trade and investment patterns between India and the United Kingdom (UK) can be much better than current levels as the UK takes a fresh approach to globalisation post-Brexit, Indian High Commissioner to the UK Yashvardhan Kumar Sinha said.
Delivering the keynote address at a joint conference by the All India Management Association (AIMA) and Imperial College London titled 'To Build Walls or Bridges: The Path to a New Economic Nirvana' in London on Friday, the Indian envoy also called on the UK to Make in India for the world.
"The trade and investment between India and UK can be a lot better than what it has been lately. India is now open to the world and the UK is globalising afresh. It is a good opportunity for both countries to grow their economy faster by increasing movement of goods and people. I am sure that this opportunity will not be missed," Sinha said.
"The outcome of the snap elections in the UK has only confirmed that nations are ambivalent about globalisation... India is looking for more trade and investment because it wants to grow even faster. It is inviting everyone to make in India for the world. The UK, for its part, has chosen to reconfigure its relationship with the world," he noted.
There was a consensus among the business and political leaders at the conference, held to coincide with the one-year mark of the referendum on Britain's membership of the European Union (EU) on June 23 last year, that protectionism, Brexit and anti-globalisation will not hold back UK-India ties.
"Some believe that for a country to compete and for its citizens to prosper, we should retreat from globalisation. But as many of us see every day, this is wrong. International collaboration, global competition and inclusive growth are not mutually exclusive... Imperial's global, collaborative environment, and our wider impact, is [a] testament to that," said Professor Alice Gast, President of Imperial College London.
"At Imperial we build bridges. More than half of our research papers involve an international co-author. India is at the heart of that. In the last five years, Imperial researchers have published more than 1,200 joint papers with collaborators in India," she said.
Britain's Universities and Science Minister, Jo Johnson, used the event to "send a message to prospective Indian students that they have the warmest welcome" waiting for them in the UK.
The conference was held to mark 60 years of AIMA, India's umbrella body for management professionals, and Imperial's collaborations with the network.
"There is huge potential for cooperation between the two countries in higher education, scientific and industrial research, innovation and intellectual property," said AIMA President Sunil Munjal.
Imperial College London claims to be among the India- friendly educational institutions in the UK, with the college's Indian student numbers rising above 300 last year. A project between Imperial College and the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) has received funding through the UK-India Education and Research Initiative (UKIERI) to establish the first and largest collection of DNA in Indian stroke victims.