UK and India 'to take steps towards deeper strategic partnership'

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The UK and India are deepening their strategic partnership in order to forge stronger economic and trade links between the two countries.

The UK has outlined its plans for a more robust strategic partnership with India during a visit by international development secretary Priti Patel to the nation.

Following on from a visit by Indian prime minister Narendra Modi to Britain last November, Ms Patel's return trip represents the latest step forward in the two countries' efforts to strengthen their cooperation in key areas such as business, education, defence, security and culture.

During the Indian visit, the minister outlined a package of UK technical assistance and support for India to boost economic growth, jobs and trade, which will also benefit Britain in the longer term.

A discussion with India's finance minister and leading financial companies saw Ms Patel outline how the UK is building smart cities, boosting skills, improving the ease of trading, enhancing energy infrastructure and harnessing the financing power of the City of London, all of which can help to support India's economic agenda.

The first rupee-denominated bond was launched in London earlier this month, while efforts are being made by the UK to support India's smart city projects. Additionally, two venture funds and equity investments in innovative businesses have been established by the UK for Indian companies to utilize, thereby creating better trading conditions between the nations.

India is projected to become the world's third-largest economy by 2050, which is why Britain has already commenced talks with the country about a future trade deal that could be put in place once the UK has left the European Union.

Ms Patel said: "It is absolutely right that UK support, including that provided by my department, has moved away from traditional financial aid - which ended last year - to technical assistance and sharing skills and expertise.

"Britain is an outward-looking and global nation and the Department for International Development will continue to support the UK's trading partners of the future, working closely with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the new Department for International Trade, and creating opportunities for British businesses too."