Chancellor George Osborne has claimed that “good days are coming” for Britain’s relationship with India after investment deals worth up to £120m were announced during a visit to Mumbai.
Mr Osborne, who is on a two-day trip to India with Foreign Secretary William Hague, said the two countries would see greater investment in each other’s economies and more job creation.
Borrowing a phrase from India’s newly elected Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he said: “Good days are coming.”
The ministers announced two investment projects, one involving the car manufacturer Mahindra, which is to invest £20m into research and development in Britain, and drug manufacturer Cipla, which could invest up to £100m.
In turn, Mr Hague announced there would be an increase in the number of scholarships available for Indian students to travel to Britain to study. Details of a programme to enable young Britons to visit India to work or study was also unveiled.
Mr Hague and Mr Osborne will travel to Delhi on Tuesday and become the first UK ministers to meet Mr Modi, who for a decade was subject to a boycott by Britain and others western nations because of allegations over killings of hundreds of Muslims in a massacre in Gujarat, where he was chief minister.
When he became Prime Minister, David Cameron said he wanted Britain to become India’s “partner of choice”. He has made three trips to India, despite the fact there has been no reciprocal visit by Delhi.
The British Government is keen to be among the first countries to visit the newly elected Mr Modi, whose election campaign stressed development and growth. He has said he wants to give investors a red carpet rather than more red tape.
Among the high-profile visitors that came in recent weeks were Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi, Laurent Fabius, the French foreign minister, and Dmitry Rogozin, Russia’s deputy prime minister.