UK Parliament marks India Day to kick off UK-India Week 2019

The 2019 UK-India Week got off to a running start with the UK Parliament celebrating the first-ever India Day. The event was marked by speeches, round table interactions and the release of the list of the 100 Most Influential women in UK-India Relations.

(from left) Indian High Commissioner to the UK Ruchi Ghanashyam, Conservative Party MP and minister in the UK Cabinet, Amber Rudd, Lord Jitesh Gadhia, an Indian-origin peer and Manoj LAdwa, Founder and CEO, India Inc, at the India Day event in the UK Parliament House in Westminster. Photo courtesy: Twitter/@Indiaincorp
(from left) Indian High Commissioner to the UK Ruchi Ghanashyam, Conservative Party MP and minister in the UK Cabinet, Amber Rudd, Lord Jitesh Gadhia, an Indian-origin peer and Manoj LAdwa, Founder and CEO, India Inc, at the India Day event in the UK Parliament House in Westminster. Photo courtesy: Twitter/@Indiaincorp

"The UK's relationship with India is a litmus test for anyone who advocates a brighter future for the UK outside the European Union (EU),” said Lord Jitesh Gadhia, an Indian-origin peer, in his opening speech. 

The first-ever India Day was hosted by the Indian High Commissioner to the UK Ruchi Ghanashyam and Lord Gadhia and included a speech by the guest of honour, senior Conservative Party MP and minister in the UK Cabinet, Amber Rudd. 

UK Secretary of state for work and pensions Amber Rudd. Photo courtesy: Twitter/@Indiaincorp
UK Secretary of state for work and pensions Amber Rudd. Photo courtesy: Twitter/@Indiaincorp

"There is a need to be ambitious from the UK's side, but one thing is certain that Britain is a steadfast friend of India and vice versa,” said Rudd, who is the UK Secretary of state for work and pensions. 

The Indian high commissioner emphasised that the ongoing UK-India Week was indicative of the passion in the UK for a relationship with India.

“Recent FDI figures are proof that the interest of Indian businesses remains strong. Brexit or no Brexit, there is a confidence in the UK as a place to do business," said Ghanashyam.

The Indian high commissioner emphasised that the ongoing UK-India Week was indicative of the passion in the UK for a relationship with India.
Indian high commissioner to the UK Ruchi Ghanashyam emphasised that the ongoing UK-India Week was indicative of the passion in the UK for a relationship with India. Photo courtesy: Twitter/@indiaincorp

The day wrapped up with the release of the third 100 Most Influential in UK-India Relations List, which comprised entirely of women this year. Indian Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, HE Ghanashyam, UK Secretary of State for Defence Penny Mordaunt, NASSCOM president Debjani Ghosh and filmmaker Gurinder Chaddha were among prominent women from both nations featured in the list. 

“This week is about setting the pace for a new and exciting innings. One where we recognise the strengths of each other, where we recognise the importance of the flow of business, but equally the flow of people,” said Manoj Ladwa, Founder and CEO of India Inc., who organised the UK-India Week in England.

Earlier in the day, the House of Commons' influential Foreign Affairs Committee (FAC) had released its Global Britain and India inquiry report to mark India Day and flagged "missed opportunities" in the bilateral relationship.

"I will certainly be pressing the new Prime Minister to ensure the findings of the report are implemented to redefine and reawaken UK-India ties, especially now when the UK is at a crossroads as it prepares to leave the EU," said FAC Chair Tom Tugendhat, the Conservative Party MP who led the inquiry.

UK-India Week will involve a series of events to explore investment opportunities between the two countries, including a Leadership Summit in Buckinghamshire in south-east England between today and Thursday and concluding with the UK-India Awards on Friday.

Author
Tushaar Kuthiala
Tushaar Kuthiala – Associate Editor

Tushaar has extensive experience as a journalist and in founding two start-up newspapers. He has developed editorial models for both involving editing, both copy and content, as well as writing articles, news reports and fiction. He is a graduate of St. Stephen’s College and earned a post-graduate diploma in TV Journalism from the Asian College of Journalism (ACJ), Chennai. He has worked as a special correspondent based in New Delhi with Daily World, an international media organisation. 

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