The UK-India are striving to enhance economic and commercial links, according to the British Deputy High Commissioner, Chandru Iyer.
Notwithstanding the impact of Russia’s war with Ukraine, the UK and India are heading towards an era of positive engagement in trade and business relations, with steps underway to promote mutual investments in both the nations, British Deputy High Commissioner in charge of Kerala and Karnataka Chandru Iyer said.
Iyer who is also UK’s Deputy Trade Commissioner for South Asia talked in detail to PTI on Friday about the trade and investments between the UK – India and said there was potential to treble the business by 2030.
He was in the state to take part in numerous official engagements, including a meeting with Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, and also in conjunction with the port of call made by the British Royal Navy’s frigate ship, HMS Lancaster, in Kochi.
Calling war a worldwide phenomenon that impacts all nations in more ways than one, the British Deputy High Commissioner lauded entrepreneurs for being ambitious and resilient in the face of tragedy.
“If you look at the flow of business or the trade data between the UK and India for the period ending Q4 of last year, the amount was at 34 billion British pounds. Over the same time concluding the year before last, it was roughly 19 billion pounds. So it’s been a significant boost in commerce and business,” Iyer remarked.
After visiting the Chief Minister two days ago and expressing interest in collaborating with the Kerala government in the education sector, Iyer visited tech entrepreneurs from Thiruvananthapuram and its nearby districts. He also conducted commercial negotiations in Kochi.
“The interest in Britain is so great that individuals want to travel there and establish up their firm and utilize that as their worldwide headquarters… This indicates that nations are conducting more commerce together. The ambitions can quadruple the trade and investment figures by 2030,” Iyer added.
Explaining efforts to encourage Indian investment in the UK, Iyer said his team was working throughout India to find firms with promise and was conducting meetings, understanding their ambitions, and linking them with the relevant individuals in the UK.
“We as a team are catalysts, we are facilitators. All our services are free, comprehensive, discreet, and customized,” he stated.
Iyer, who has origins in Tamil Nadu’s Tirunelveli, spent much of his life in Nagpur working in the private sector before coming to the UK and securing a diplomatic position.
“I spent most of my life in Nagpur, which is a tier-two city. I am a believer in the potential of tier 2 and tier 3 cities. So one of my goals is to perform a lot of outreach trips to tier two and tier three cities as well. We got a lot of queries from Thrissur, Calicut, and Kottayam. So the possibility is there,” he remarked.
Talking about Indian students who chose the UK for further education and were finding it tough to secure a part-time job, Iyer said employment was at an all-time low in the UK but chances were coming up.
“We live in extremely unpredictable times. Who would have imagined the war or who would have expected the inflation or a Silicon Valley Bank going down? Eventualities do happen. When kids go there, they need to be a little more cautious and also watch out for how things work out for them,” he added.
He said there was a big need for STEM specialists in the UK, and Indian students had a lot of prospects in technological enterprises and the financial industry as well.
When questioned about the partnership with the state government in the education sector, the British envoy said he was willing to cooperate with Kerala on student exchange and co-branded courses.
“British universities may come here and connect up with the digital university or Kerala university or CUSAT,” he added, adding that they were looking at participating in collaborative efforts in some sectors.
“We had an excellent discussion with the authorities regarding some critical topics including bio marine, AI, and architecture. We would select concerned British universities to link them with the state government,” Iyer added.
He said his team was devoted to the State and was going to perform a huge event in Kerala before the year-end as part of the birthday festivities of King Charles III.