The new year offers limitless opportunities for the India-UK relationship

The new year offers limitless opportunities for the India-UK relationship
The new year offers limitless opportunities for the India-UK relationship

Prime Minister David Cameron's Indian Diaspora Champion highlights Britain's “can-do approach” as the India-UK relationship steps up into a true partnership aimed at furthering India's growth agenda.We opened the very important Deputy High Commission in Ahmedabad on January 7, which for us is enormous. In terms of our overseas and international footprint, the UK's largest diplomatic network in the world is in India. This is the mission everyone has been waiting for and importantly I think it brings closer that Gujarati link and relationship back to the UK.Opening the mission was a historic event. I recall from my own travels to Gujarat as a child when there was no mission there despite such a huge Gujarati community here in the UK. Now with the new direct flight connecting the UK and the state, it marks a new landmark for Gujaratis in the UK with closer and closer ties.The plan was to cover as many bases as I can, building upon the foundations put down by the two Prime Ministers [Narendra Modi and David Cameron] back in November during Prime Minister Modi's visit to the UK.Britain is the partner of choice in the skills development area and we will be the ones leading this. There is a whole diversity of activity in the skills and training arena and the UK footprint is enormous. We are rolling the pitch out there and are ahead of the curve when it comes to supporting India and the Indian government.I also covered West Bengal during the visit for the Bengal Global Business Summit. I am always energised when I meet with chief minister Mamata Banerjee because of her own personal commitment, energy and vision.When the chief minister came to London last year she spoke with great passion and great enthusiasm about her commitment and vision and at the same time she was pitching to us - to the UK government and British businesses - to say come and invest in West Bengal and be our partner of choice in transforming the economic fortunes of her state.Prime Minister Cameron has been very clear about his own enthusiasm to work with her and do more there. We are absolutely energised and highly motivated to go out there and showcase British opportunities. As a result of this summit, other states will also get attracted to what Britain has to offer.We have a very can-do approach. British businesses are doing tremendous work in terms of investment in India, we are leading the way when it comes to demonstrating the ease of doing business in India, which is a big international theme for the Indian government. We know how to do business in India, we have a synergy and mutual understanding.We had a momentous year last year when we had the privilege to host Prime Minister Modi. Everything about that visit, the content and detail, were absolutely significant. Also from a personal point of view, as a British Indian as well, it was moving to see the depth of the relationship between our two countries and our two Prime Ministers. They have a very clear bond.The New Year is one that takes that relationship to a new level. At the start of 2016, the opportunities for India are limitless when it comes employment, GDP growth, education and skills. It is a privilege to be such a close partner with such a wonderful country such as India.

Priti Patel is Britain's Minister for Employment in the Department of Work & Pensions (DWP) and also serves as Prime Minister David Cameron's Indian Diaspora Champion.

Views expressed in this article are the author′s and do not necessarily reflect the views of India Inc.

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