New UK parliamentary panel to promote trade, investment ties with India

Source: Economic Times, 27 July 2022

A new cross-party UK parliamentary panel has been created to promote trade, investment and people-to-people ties with India, backed up by British Indian think tank 1928 Institute.

The India (Trade and Investment) All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) was formally registered last week as part of celebrations of the 75th anniversary of India’s independence and is made up of 25 members of Parliament and peers of different political affiliations.

With a stated goal to promote trade and investment between India and the UK for the mutual betterment of their citizens, whilst building an inclusive living bridge between the two countries, the new APPG hopes to support the ongoing India-UK free trade agreement (FTA) negotiations and promote its benefits once concluded.

“Given 75 years of India’s Independence, the creation of an All-Party Parliamentary Group focused on India will set the tempo between the UK Parliament and India/Indians,” said Navendu Mishra, Indian-origin Opposition Labour Party MP for Stockport in north-west England and Co-Chair of the new APPG.

“Investment in people is the best way to ensure economic stability and this APPG intends to benefit the peoples of both the UK and India. In particular, I’m looking forward to bringing investment to Stockport and to the Greater Manchester region, both from stronger cultural ties and from utilising the trade agreement,” he said.

“Furthermore, what better way to celebrate the 75 years of Independence then to strengthen the living bridge between the countries and to solidify an equal partnership between these two great nations,” he added.

From trips across different parts of Britain to visits to India, the India (Trade & Investment) APPG said it will work with diverse stakeholders and encourage beneficial collaborations.

“It’s a new chapter in the story of the Indo-British trade partnership and I’ll be working tirelessly to ensure that we get the best possible FTA and that it is utilised after. The group’s establishment coincides with the 75th year of India’s Independence and it will be a parliamentary driving force behind the UK-India story in the years to come,” said Lord Karan Bilimoria, Indian-origin businessman and Co-Chair of the APPG.

“This APPG will be the conduit which not only connects UK and Indian policymakers but connects businesses and entrepreneurs to drive growth. The APPG will ensure that dialogue and engagement will cut across all levels of business, particularly encouraging a wider lens on female led business and start-ups,” added Baroness Sandy Verma, the President of the new group.

The APPG is chaired by Conservative Party MP Bob Blackman and includes other Indian-origin parliamentarians as vice-chairs, including Lord Meghnad Desai, Baroness Usha Prashar, Labour MP Virendra Sharma and Tory MP Gagan Mohnidra.

“We are honoured to facilitate the APPG as its Secretariat and look forward to collaborating with diverse partners to champion trade, investment, and development,” said the 1928 Institute, a University of Oxford spinout focussed on Indian diaspora research in the UK.

“We intend to create an energised, inclusive, and pluralistic space to accelerate the improvement of material conditions for all. Our vision spans opportunities from Pembrokeshire to Punjab, and we encourage you to get in touch to help shape this nascent space,” it said.

The new APPG will officially kick-start its activities when Parliament resumes after its summer recess under a new Prime Minister in September.

APPGs are informal, cross-party groups in the UK formed by MPs and members of the House of Lords who share a common interest in a particular policy area, region or country and have no official status within Parliament.

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