“It is vital that India and UK work together to define the knowledge economy of the 21st century,” said Hon’ble Mr. Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India. He was inaugurating the India-UK CII-DST TECH Summit with Rt Hon Theresa May, Prime Minister of UK, organized by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and the Department of Science and Technology, India, in New Delhi.
The Indian Prime Minister called upon Indian and UK businesses to leverage each other’s scientific strength and technological prowess for addressing new investment opportunities. Although trade is subdued, mutual investments are robust, he stressed.
The Prime Minister referred to the Newton-Bhabha program of scientific collaboration between the UK and India. “The present Indo-UK cooperation in science and technology is driven by ‘high quality’ and ‘high impact’ research partnerships. In less than two years’ time under the ‘Newton-Bhabha’ program, we have started wide-ranging collaborations covering basic science to solution science aimed at addressing societal challenges,” he added.
“The Global Innovation & Technology Alliance or GITA platform of CII and Department of Science and Technology along with Innovate-UK supports industry led R&D projects in affordable healthcare, clean technology, manufacturing and ICT. These sectors open new potential for Indian and UK businesses to convert the scientific knowledge into technology based enterprises,” said the Prime Minister.
“Science is universal, but technology has to be local,” he stated. He highlighted the business opportunities for UK and Indian companies in Make in India, Smart Cities, and Startup India. The financial services sector and fintech offers immense opportunities as Jan Dhan Yojana, mobile technology and the Unique Identification Card are converging for the largest social sector program in the world. Besides, India has more than one billion phone connections and 350 million internet users, stated the Prime Minister.
The Prime Minister emphasized the need for student mobility as they can define bilateral engagement in a shared future. He called for greater participation of young people in educational and research opportunities.
Rt Hon Theresa May, Prime Minister of UK, announced that Indian business visitors would now be eligible for the Registered Travelers Scheme of the UK which is aimed at a facilitative visa regime. She stressed that with Brexit, the UK would forge a new global outlook and her visit to India, her first bilateral visit outside Europe as Prime Minister and her first trade mission, is aimed at greater trade and investment and fewer trade barriers.
The UK Prime Minister outlined a three-point agenda for her visit. The first is to identify business opportunities, and a large trade delegation is accompanying her. The second is to look at each other’s priorities as ‘our own priorities’. With India undertaking large programs such as Make in India and Digital India, and the UK expanding its economic and social reforms, the two countries must support each other, she stated. She announced that the two countries are setting up an India-UK Urban Partnership. The third point is to break down barriers and make it easier to do business.
The India-UK CII-DST TECH Summit will provide a wide-ranging platform for a vibrant business partnership, stated the Minister.
Dr Naushad Forbes, President, CII, said that the India-UK CII-DST TECH Summit focuses on the two points of how to increase public investment in research and how to get firms to invest more in science and technology. The Prime Minister has made technology the cornerstone of the many new programs introduced for development and his vision for technology is inspiring, he added.