UK defence firms should invest, make, co-create, co-develop in India: UK India business body

By The Print

The Indo-Pacific region is the economic growth engine of the world and companies from the United Kingdom are looking at engaging more with India as a place to invest, manufacture, co-create and co-develop, the UK India Business Council (UKIBC) has said.

Noting that India is geopolitically important, Richard McCallum, vice chair of UKIBC, told ThePrint in an interview that India cannot be seen through just the export of goods perspective. McCallum is hopeful of the early completion of a proposed Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between India and the UK, which he said would open up more opportunities.

McCallum, who looks after the defence sector at the UKIBC, noted that this sector traditionally sits outside the standard FTA, but added that there are aspects that are important to UKIBC defence members. He cited Intellectual Property Rights and customs duty as a common goal for companies. Anything that can improve the operating environment would be beneficial and welcomed by our members, he said.

Talking about the recent visit of the British Navy’s Carrier Strike Group to Mumbai, McCallum said it was a marker of the UK’s ambitions in the region and its desire to strengthen its relationship with India.

UK’s flotilla had passed through the Indian Ocean in July on its way to the South China Sea, the first such tour for the British.

It also joined two American aircraft carriers and a Japanese helicopter carrier to jointly patrol the waters around Taiwan in early October.

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