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Post Brexit, U.K. looking to further strengthen ties with India: Jaitley

New Delhi [India]: Union Minister Arun Jaitley on Tuesday said that the United Kingdom, post Brexit, is looking at a very ‘different relationship’ with India, with both economies looking to capitalise on investment and trade opportunities.

Addressing a joint press conference with U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond post the ninth India-U.K Economic and Financial Dialogue in New Delhi, Jaitley said the discussion between the two encompassed of a variety of topics of bilateral interest to the two chairs, asserting that the dialogue was ‘very successful’.

“Three years ago, we established this partnership which is now seeing a huge amount of participation. Although, on the forefront, the dialogue is government to government, the private sector has shown great interest in participating and contributing to the partnership,” Jaitley said in his opening address.

The two parties released a joint statement post the dialogue, which highlights the issue of investment on Indian infrastructure. Further, the statement talks of improving the regulatory environment in India, following the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in November 2016.

“Reforms in India, including the GST and Insolvency legislation, are significant steps towards improved business conditions in India. Both sides welcomed UK’s support to India in implementing these reforms, drawing upon the UK’s experience to share knowledge, best practices and build capacity in areas including regulation, Insolvency and tax administration,” the statement read.

The statement further recognised the crucial role of insurance and reinsurance to manage complex risks in the economic system, the UK and India welcomed the opening of Lloyd’s of London’s first Indian branch to underwrite re-insurance business. Both sides also agreed to work to boost cooperation and collaboration between the regulatory authorities and industries in both countries to foster sharing of best practices.

Both sides recognised the importance of developing strong pension systems, agreeing that India and UK can share experiences in this area.

The Finance Ministers also agreed to renew the IUKFP’s mandate and looked forward to future papers on bank restructuring, fintech, disinvestment, India-UK trade and investment relationship – recommendations from financial and professional services – and ease of doing business in financial and professional services.

Jaitley further stated that in regard to the National infrastructure and Investment Fund ( NIIF) that was established, there is a proposal to introduce a sub-section called ‘Green Growth Equity Fund’, which will receive contribution from both India and the U.K. to enhance energy services.

“A contribution to the effect of 120 million pounds will be allocated towards financing energy needs in India,” added Jaitley.

“The two Finance Ministers announced that the fund will focus initial investments on India’s rapidly growing energy and renewables market and that a fund manager is expected to be selected by the autumn. Progress will be accelerated by starting the process of appointing a fund manager now with early market engagement via the publication of a blueprint, with the aim to identify additional and complementary sectors for fund investments,” the statement read to this effect.

The two welcomed that the proposal of National Highways Authority of India to issue a ‘masala bond’ in London in next few months. They also welcomed IREDA’s plans to issue a green bond in London and list their masala bonds on the London Stock Exchange within six months.

“Given the increasingly important role the rupee will play in the global economy in years to come, we also welcomed the City of London Corporation’s establishment of a Rupee Initiative to bring together market experts and leverage the UK’s position as the world’s number one foreign exchange centre to further develop this market,” the statement highlighted the importance of foreign exchange.

A report has also been submitted for review, with regards to the internationalisation of the rupee.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer expressed his view of looking forward to strengthening ties with India, through the upcoming dialogues. He also said that the two parties are looking forward to the Economic Dialogue scheduled for 2018 in London. (ANI)