After two scheduled visits that were delayed due to India's COVID crisis, the UK-India trade agreement has finally taken shape. Boris Johnson and India's prime minister Narendra Modi have agreed terms on a new £1bn deal to provide trade, investment, and new jobs.
The deal contains £533m of new Indian investment into the UK, which will lead to the creation of about 6,000 new jobs. £200m of this investment will support low carbon growth. Additionally, growing industries like health and technology will receive a boost.
The Serum Institute of India has invested £240m into their UK vaccine business and sales office. The sales office alone will produce more than $1bn in business and boost job creation.
Additionally, UK businesses have agreed on export deals with India, totalling over £446 million. Chief among these deals is CMR Surgical's export of its surgical robotic system Versius. The £200m deal will create around 100 new UK jobs. Another notable win was the 1,000 new jobs announced within technology firm Infosys.
Indeed, this Enhanced Trade Partnership is just the beginning. A UK-India Free Trade Agreement is in the pipeline, with more significant cooperation ensured by the Roadmap 2030 agreement.
Of course, the agreement is about far more than just trade. Greater security cooperation is another stated goal. As China expands in the region, both countries have geopolitical concerns. The UK has applied to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), a bloc of 11 Indo-Pacific nations.
Another aspect of the agreement will tackle previous immigration tensions between the countries. A migration and mobility partnership aimed at helping Indian graduates move to the UK for up to two years has been agreed upon. In exchange, the UK will have greater powers to deport Indian workers living illegally in Britain.
Overall, this is a positive start to the UK's post-Brexit deals. UK and Indian alignment is a much-needed boost for both countries during trying times. Job growth, cultural exchange, and greater security are all big pluses. Because the UK's most significant export is financial services, access to a developing market of 1.4 billion people should prove beneficial in an increasingly digital age.
Another meaningful aspect is the countries commitment to combat climate change. Clean energy transition and protection of wildlands is a welcome target for the 2030 Roadmap. Indeed, with the COP26 scheduled in the UK in November, securing the strategic alignment is a substantial environmental boost.
The UK-India trade deal is a bright spot in what has been a trying time for both countries. Investments and job growth are just the beginning, with further alignment around security, culture, and services showing great potential.
As the UK looks toward its post-Brexit economy, a strong relationship with a developing country with a large English speaking population promises to be mutually beneficial.
Alpesh Patel OBE, President The India League