Over the past few years, the challenge facing small and medium scale industries in UK was that even though they were looking to pursue business activity in India, they have been predominantly exposed to opportunities available at traditional investment hotspots in India like Delhi and Mumbai and did not have access to first hand information about the information available in other parts of India especially amongst Southern states like Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and Telangana. Therefore, it was felt amongst the diaspora that overall for the growth and prosperity of the India, the business opportunities in South of the India needs to promoted extensively. This is because six regions of South India i.e Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Pondicherry, Telangana and Tamil Nadu has a combined GDP of over $300 billion and when put together are among the top 30 economies of the world, contributing over 22 percent of India’s GDP and 28 percent of India’s employment. It is projected that South India in the next five years i.e. by 2020, will become $1,200 billion economy.
Therefore, we set up British South India Council of Commerce, so as to promote business activity between UK and India, specifically South Indian regions of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Pondicherry, Telangana and Tamil Nadu.
Over the past few years, we have organised 16 business summits at the UK parliament and have engaged more than 2350 delegates from around thousand companies during the course of these summits. These summits have attracted government and business representatives from the southern states, Members of House of Lords & House of Commons, representatives from UK companies and Indian companies who might be interested to pursue business activity in these regions. The focus of these summits have been to engage not only with the mainstream small business but also those run by Persons of Indian origin ( PIO). This is because a large number of talented PIO's have started to explore opportunities in the land of their ancestors and our summits provides them a detailed outlook of the current set of opportunities available in India. In addition to this, our summits also provide them an opportunity to interact with delegations from various South Indian states thereby helping them to explore joint venture opportunities and various modes of collaboration.
Further to organising these summits and as part of our efforts to strengthen links between British lawmakers/ businesses and lawmakers/ businesses in Southern states of India, we have been co ordinating visits of various delegations to India and UK. Over the last few months, a number of delegations led by British Member of Parliament and Indo British All Party Parliamentary group Chairman Hon Mr Virendra Sharma MP, who is also the Patron of British South India Council of Commerce, have visited all the Southern states and engaged in a conversation with the business and political leadership of the respective states so as to network and build closer relations between UK and India. In addition to this, we also offer ground support, through our network of Subject matter experts, for those companies which require our assistance to set up or expand in UK and India. These subject matter experts help decision-makers identify solutions to complex strategic challenges. Working through our subject matter who have delivered expertise in various international platform helps our clients to harness the expertise of a set of individuals who posses diverse, domain-specific knowledge.
We believe that UK and India can build closer trade relations only if Indian companies are encouraged to invest in UK and UK companies are encouraged to invest in India. Therefore, in order to increase the two way flow of business activity, all our summits not only have sessions which showcases the business opportunities available in India for UK companies but also have sessions which showcases the opportunities available in UK for delegates attending from India. Personally, my work through British South India Council of Commerce has been satisfying as it offered me a chance to contribute to the development of India. I come from a family which has served the Indian Armed forces and I strongly believe that in the current context, patriotism is not just about fighting and dying for your country but also about living for your country and making a difference to your countrymen.
Disclaimer: Opinions expressed in this article are author's personal opinions and do not reflect the views of Connected to India and the management of the company does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.