LONDON, Feb 23 (PTI): Britain’s Chancellor of the Exchequer, Jeremy Hunt, arrived in Bengaluru on Thursday to attend the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting and for bilateral talks aimed at an enhanced India-UK economic partnership.
On what is his first overseas visit since taking charge at the UK Treasury, Hunt will meet with his counterpart, Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman, and a range of senior Indian business leaders and tech CEOs to explore collaborations.
His office said the tour aims to strengthen the already productive India-UK economic relationship and deepen ties with a rising “economic superpower” to increase new investments and jobs in the UK.
“I want the UK to be the world’s next Silicon Valley – this is an ambition within reach thanks to our status as a global financial powerhouse and home to world class universities and research institutions,” said Hunt, on the eve of his India visit.
“We already have a USD 1 trillion tech industry, but we want to go further to create jobs and wealth across the UK. To help us get there, we need to deepen investment connections with like-minded countries around the world – starting with our Indian friends who are fast becoming an economic superpower in their own right,” he said.
Alex Ellis, British High Commissioner to India, said the UK is working with India to solve the world’s biggest challenges, through its G20 presidency.
“As we work towards an ambitious free trade agreement to help double UK-India trade by 2030, it is great that the Chancellor can be in Bengaluru, India’s Silicon Valley,” said Ellis.
The Chancellor’s team said he will be meeting Indian tech CEOs and founders in Bengaluru to explore investment opportunities and how links with India can help the UK become the world’s next Silicon Valley.
“India is projected to be the world’s third largest economy by 2050, with a tech industry that generated USD 227 billion in revenue in FY2022. It is already a significant economic partner for the UK, and the Chancellor is seeking to promote greater collaboration between the two countries,” the Treasury said.
Coinciding with the one-year anniversary of the Russia-Ukraine conflict this week, the UK government has said the finance minister will use the G20 talks to reaffirm the UK’s “unwavering support” for Ukraine and discuss with other members ways to address issues such as elevated global inflationary pressures and the instability in energy and food prices that are being exacerbated by the conflict.
During his visit, Hunt and Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey will also join a meeting of G7 Finance Ministers. It follows the latest move on behalf of the G7, the European Union (EU) and Australia, who via a Price Cap Coalition, set caps on the price of seaborne Russian oil products effective from February 5, 2023.
High-value Russian exports such as diesel and gasoline are capped at USD 100 while lower-value products such as fuel oil are capped at USD 45. Meanwhile, the UK points to having phased out the import of Russian oil and oil products last year.
The Treasury added that the Chancellor’s work at the G20 will also contribute to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak-led government’s priorities to halve inflation this year to ease the cost of living and give people financial security; grow the economy, create better-paid jobs and opportunity right across the country; and make sure our national debt is falling so that we can secure the future our of public services.