Nick Clegg in India for trade talks with Narendra Modi

When he became Prime Minister, David Cameron said he wanted Britain to become India’s 'partner of choice'

Delhi

Nick Clegg is today scheduled to hold talks in Delhi with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the latest in a series of efforts by the UK to try to boost trade with India.

The Deputy Prime Minister, who will also meet finance minister Arun Jaitley, will lead a delegation of more than 40 British businesses, colleges and representatives of the aerospace industry. Among the businesses is a manufacturer of tonic water, seeking to exploit India’s history as the purported birthplace of gin and tonic.

Since Prime Minister Narendra Modi was elected in a landslide victory in May, a flurry of foreign leaders and ministers have been enduring the sweltering Indian summer to make their way to Delhi in an effort to try and secure trade agreements. Mr Modi, of the Hindu national Bharatiya Janata Party, was elected after a campaign in which he portrayed himself as someone who could oversee development and who was friendly to investors and businesses.

“I am delighted to be leading the first trade delegation to India since the election of the new government,” Mr Clegg said in a statement. “Prime Minister Modi has been very clear that his absolute priority is to get the wheels of the Indian economy moving, to create more jobs, boost trade and pursue greater prosperity.”

When he became Prime Minister, David Cameron said he wanted Britain to become India’s “partner of choice”. He has made three trips here, and is due to come again later in the year.

Britain was also among the very first Western countries to end a decade-long boycott of Mr Modi, a former chief minister of the state of Gujarat, who was black-listed following the killing of hundreds of Muslims in his state in 2002.

Yet India has yet to reciprocate with a Prime Ministerial visit to Britain. Likewise, for all the talk by UK ministers of Britain and India being natural partners, the UK is one of just many countries sending out warm messages to Delhi, and Mr Cameron’s efforts have only rewarded modestly.

Last month, during a visit by William Hague and George Osborne, it was announced that a deal worth £250m had been agreed for a British manufacturer to provide missiles to the Indian Air Force. But the arms deal Britain had been lobbying for, a £6.6bn contract to provide 126 fighter aircraft, instead went to France in January 2012.

Meanwhile, other foreign visitors to India this summer have included Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi, Laurent Fabius, the French foreign minister, and Dmitry Rogozin, Russia’s deputy prime minister.

Mr Clegg’s office has declined to provide specific details of his visit but Indian media reported that he will be making several announcements relating to science and education. The Hindu newspaper said he would sign a partnership between the University of Dundee and the National Centre for Biological Sciences when he visits the southern city of Bangalore.

It said he will also announce a collaboration between the University of Edinburgh, the Christian Medical College in Vellore, and the Indian Christian Medical and Dental Association, for a new distance learning degree.

During the three day visit, during which he will be accompanied by his new, unpaid India business adviser Lord Dholakia, Mr Clegg will also visit officials in Mumbai, India’s business capital.

“There is already £16bn of trade every year between India and the UK,” Mr Clegg’s statement continued. “India invests more in the UK than it does in the rest of the European Union combined, and no country in the G20 invests more in India than Britain does.”

Among the British businesses taking part in the trip is Fever-Tree, the soft drinks manufacturer. The company believes there is lots of potential for its products in India, particularly its tonic water.

“India is now one of the five largest gin markets in the world and will provide us with a long-term platform for growth,” said the company’s Charles Rolls. “Traditionally a whisky market, white spirits have grown in the region in recent years and we hope to capitalise on the popularity of Western drinking habits in bars, restaurants and hotels.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Life and Style
love + sex
Life and Style
Tikka Masala has been overtaken by Jalfrezi as the nation's most popular curry
food + drink
News
people
Voices
A propaganda video shows Isis forces near Tikrit
voicesAdam Walker: The Koran has violent passages, but it also has others that explicitly tells us how to interpret them
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Ledger & Credit Control Assistant

£14000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Ledger & Credit Control...

Recruitment Genius: Project Administrator

£16000 - £19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Project Administrator is requ...

Recruitment Genius: International Trade Advisors - Hertfordshire or Essex

£30000 - £35379 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The company is based in Welwyn ...

Recruitment Genius: Operations Controller - Response Centre

£20000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Day In a Page

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn