For 20 years, I have advised UK companies who want to invest in India. More recently, the balance of power has shifted with the increasing number of Indian companies wishing to invest in the UK. That investment has now reached record heights. But in all those years, I have never seen so much uncertainty in both countries.
As our cover says, these are challenging times. Both governments are trying to build bridges to increase trade and investment. Sir James Bevan, the high profile UK High Commissioner to India knows this well, and you can read his opinion here.
For all the UK government’s need to say that the UK-India relationship is a special one, I find myself feeling slightly cynical. Countries regularly declare special relationships when wooing one another for either trade or political purposes, but in my opinion it is more than just ’special.’ It is deep and enduring and goes far beyond any immediate political need.
Lord Desai writes in this issue that the UK-India relationship is a test match, and not a one day international, an analogy that I feel sure citizens of both countries will readily appreciate. As if to back up his words, companies from both countries have continued to invest in each other, and you can read more about how TATA have been doing this in our special feature.
Recent months have added to the uncertainty. The rupee has fallen almost 30% against the pound, and currency expert Rajesh Agarwal writes more about the consequences of this click here. All of us hope that the Indian elections in 2014 will see the return of some economic certainty. Richard Heald, the determined chief executive of the UKIBC, writes about their efforts to work within these difficult times click here.
There are good news stories, however. Baroness Verma continues to do excellent work on climate change, which you can read here. We are also starting to see commitment to addressing climate change from the Indian government. In Gujarat, prime ministerial hopeful Narendra Modi has made the state the first in Asia to announce a climate change ministry and they are now home to the largest solar park in Asia.
Alpesh Patel has contributed his typically incisive comments here. He sends a clear message to the UK government that the Indian diaspora and politicians of Indian origin in the UK should be better utilised in building those bridges. We are also delighted to be supporting the Lily Foundation, headed by the inspiring Lady Mohini Noon, who demonstrates that companies should consider social causes as well as profit. This should all give you an idea of what is in this issue. Some of it you will agree with, some of it will be provocative and some of it might help you learn more about different factors in relations between the two countries. We hope that you enjoy it and, moreover, that it makes you think about how your business should be navigating through this challenging times.
The above article was published in India Inc’s Print edition of India Investment Journal launched in November 2013.
Manoj Ladwa is the Chief Executive of India Inc.
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