Prime Minister Theresa May visited India during 6 to 8 November 2016 at the invitation of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. This was her first bilateral visit outside Europe after taking over as the Prime Minister of the UK. The visit was designed to further strengthen the India–UK Strategic Partnership, guided by a shared vision for the future and supported by a concrete and comprehensive roadmap of bilateral and global engagement.
Prime Minister Modi welcomed Prime Minister May and discussed all aspects of India-UK relations. The 2 leaders recalled the strong bonds of friendship that exist between the 2 countries characterised by extensive political engagement, deep economic co-operation, and ever-expanding scientific and technological collaboration.
The 2 states enjoy vibrant people to people relations supported by the 1.5 million strong Indian diaspora in the UK and an increasing convergence on the way forward on key global challenges of the 21st century. Our shared history, our shared connections and our shared values make this a natural partnership. They form the foundation of a unique friendship.
The 2 prime ministers emphasised working together on a contemporary and forward-looking global partnership to promote peace, security and prosperity of the 2 countries and act as a force for good in the world.
During Prime Minister Modi’s visit to the UK last year, the 2 countries set out a bold vision for the UK-India Strategic Partnership. Both countries today commit to turn this vision into reality through closer, practical cooperation that delivers real benefits to both the countries.
We are taking a shared stake in each other’s prosperity, generating jobs, developing skills, and enhancing the competitiveness of our 2 economies and opening up new markets for both of us. UK finance and expertise from its world-leading services sectors will help deliver key Indian priorities like infrastructure development, future smart cities, sustainable energy, research and skills.
Likewise, Indian investments and business capacities and niche competencies are making valuable contributions to the UK growth and economy. And we are determined to deepen our trade and investment relationship even further, reinforcing the dynamic and effective collaboration between our governments and business communities, and seizing the opportunities for closer cooperation as the UK leaves the EU.
The UK was the first P5 advocate of India’s permanent membership of the UN Security Council, recognising the common values we hold and our shared vision of a stable, rules-based international system. We continue to build upon our 2015 Defence and International Security Partnership to deepen co-operation, including on countering terrorism, radicalisation, violent extremism and cyber security.
We will jointly set out areas on defence and security which make clear our future ambitions to design, make, exercise, train and co-operate together. And we will continue to consult and co-ordinate across a range of global policy security challenges, in pursuit of our shared goal of a more secure world.
Stimulating growth, trade and business together
The 2 prime ministers noted the importance of the UK-India trade relationship and welcomed that business to business ties between India and the UK are flourishing.
They noted that India was the third largest investor in the UK and the second largest international job creator with Indian companies having created over 110,000 jobs in the UK. The UK is the largest G20 investor in India. The 2 prime ministers expressed their pleasure at the level of bilateral financial co-operation and called for greater participation of the investment community from both sides in stimulating Indian and UK economic growth.
The 2 prime ministers welcomed the large number of commercial deals finalised in connection with the visit, across a range of sectors: ICT companies, critical engineering and healthcare products.
The 2 prime ministers noted the importance of government and business working together. They welcomed the suggestions made by the India-UK CEO Forum which met in the margins of the visit. They agreed that the 2 governments, together with the CEO Forum, would review how the forum can better support an enhanced economic and commercial relationship, alongside government dialogues.
They agreed they will make it a priority for both countries, when the UK leaves the European Union, to build the closest possible commercial and economic relationship. To this end, the newly-established Joint Working Group, reporting to JETCO, will discuss the detail of our trading relationship, and help drive progress.
Financing India’s infrastructure growth
The 2 prime ministers agreed to accelerate the deepening partnership between the UK and India in financing investment in Indian infrastructure. Prime Minister Modi highlighted to Prime Minister May the immense opportunities India’s national programmes including Make in India, Digital India, Skill India and Smart Cities provided for UK companies to invest and partner India’s growth story.
Over $1.1 billion (INR 7,500 crore or £900 million) of rupee-denominated bonds have been issued in London since July 2016, establishing London as the leading global centre for offshore rupee finance.
The 2 prime ministers commended the pioneering and highly successful bond issuances by HDFC (INR 3,000 crore or £366 million) and NTPC (INR 2,000 crore or £244 million), which will pave the way for Indian corporates to raise significant quantities of finance in London. They noted the recent issuance in London by the Canadian province of British Columbia, the first foreign sub-national entity to issue rupee-denominated bonds.
They welcomed the intention of National Highways Authority of India [NHAI] and Indian Railway Finance Corporation [IRFC] to issue rupee-denominated bonds in the next few months. They also looked forward to other Indian entities, including Energy Efficiency Services Limited and the Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency preparing to issue green bonds including rupee-denominated bonds in London in the coming weeks.
The 2 prime ministers also welcomed the agreement to create the FTSE-SBI India Bonds Index Series, which will support the development of India’s growing corporate bond market. This follows a successful collaboration between State Bank of India (SBI) and London Stock Exchange Group’s index business FTSE Russell.
The 2 prime ministers were pleased with the progress being made to establish an India-UK Sub-Fund under the National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF). The fund will seek to leverage private sector investment from the City of London to finance Indian infrastructure projects under the umbrella of the NIIF. It is hoped that this will initially raise around £500 million and has the potential to unlock much greater investment flows in the future.
Both governments will be prepared to make an anchor investment of up to £120 million each in the India-UK Sub-Fund subject to agreeing a structure that maximises investor interest.
The 2 prime ministers welcomed that the economic and financial agenda will be taken forward by Finance Ministers when they convene the Economic and Financial Dialogue in early 2017. They welcomed successful collaboration between the 2 financial services sectors through the industry-led India-UK Financial Partnership. The IUKFP will meet again alongside the Economic and Financial Dialogue.
The 2 prime ministers commended CDC Group, the UK’s Development Finance Institution, for its initiatives in India. They noted CDC’s expanding investment portfolio in India. India will continue to be a key focus of CDC’s investment strategy.
Smart cities and urban development
The 2 prime ministers recalled the 3 city partnerships agreed in London in November 2015 and noted progress. They agreed to build on these through a more strategic and ambitious urban partnership that brings together governments, business, investors and urban experts to build smarter, more inclusive cities that drive shared prosperity, jobs and growth in India and the UK.
Both sides would drive the partnership to raise investment, identify opportunities, and accelerate progress. UK seed investment financing through mechanisms like CDC, NIIF and UK Export Finance could leverage higher financing from financial markets – including through Rupee Bonds floated on the London Stock Exchange. As part of the Partnership, the 2 prime ministers welcomed new technical assistance for the redevelopment of Varanasi Railway Station under the Varanasi Smart City Development Plan.
Prime Minister May announced that the UK is investing over £160 million across 75 start-up enterprises which would create jobs and deliver critical services across several states in India. She announced an additional £20 million for a Start-Up India Venture Capital Fund. The fund will support 30 enterprises and leverage additional £40 million capital from other investors including UK venture capital funds.
Ease of Doing Business
Prime Minister May commended the progress made by India on Ease of Doing Business and the passing of the Goods and Services tax Bill in the Indian Parliament. The 2 prime ministers welcomed the signing of an MoU between the UK and India on Ease of Doing Business, which will harness UK expertise to support India’s efforts to climb the World Bank Ease of Doing Business ratings.
The 2 prime ministers welcomed the signing of an MoU on Intellectual Property, which will promote innovation, creativity and economic growth in both countries.
Energy and climate change
To drive forward the next phase of bilateral collaboration on the shared strategic priority of secure, affordable and sustainable energy, the 2 prime ministers noted an enhanced UK-India energy for growth partnership, and welcomed the decision to hold the first India-UK Energy Summit in early 2017.
They also welcomed a fourth phase of our joint UK-India Civil Nuclear Research Programme which will look at new technologies that contribute to enhancing nuclear safety, advanced materials for nuclear systems, waste management, and future civil nuclear energy systems.
The 2 prime ministers underlined that addressing climate change was a shared objective. They welcomed the ratification of the Paris Agreement by a number of countries including India, leading to entry into force of the Agreement on 4 November 2016 and pledged to work together towards its implementation.
Prime Minister May appreciated Indian leadership on the International Solar Alliance to harness solar energy for meeting energy demands globally and to address climate change concerns. She signalled the UK’s intention to join the alliance and the UK will continue to engage in discussions as the Framework Agreement is finalised. The 2 leaders called upon prospective member countries to signal their support for the International Solar Alliance on the sidelines of COP 22 in Marrakesh on 15 November 2016.
A global partnership
The United Kingdom and India share a commitment to democratic values, international peace and security, and national and international prosperity. The 2 prime ministers reiterated the need for the rules-based international system to adapt and renew itself in light of the transformational changes that have taken place over the last 70 years.
Prime Minister May reaffirmed the UK’s commitment to a reformed United Nations Security Council with India as a permanent member, as well as to an enhanced role for India within the United Nations system.
The United Kingdom continues to actively support India’s membership of the Security Council given India’s increasing role as a leading power, and contributions to international peace and security. In this regard the leaders directed their relevant officials to have close and regular consultations on all matters related to the United Nations, including UN terrorist designations.
The 2 prime ministers underlined the priority they attach to international peace keeping, where India is the second largest troop contributor and the UK is the 6th largest budget contributor in the world.
They committed to co-ordinating ever more closely within the G20, and welcomed the positive role played by the Commonwealth in championing democracy and fundamental freedoms. India and the United Kingdom expressed their strong and shared interest in advancing nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation.
The UK welcomed India’s joining of the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) which would strengthen global non-proliferation objectives and continues to be a strong advocate of early Indian membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) as well as membership of other key Export Control Regimes.
Following the Statement of Intent on Partnership for Cooperation in Third Countries signed in November 2015, the 2 prime ministers agreed to continue to pursue this partnership with a specific focus on Africa. Both sides agreed to share their experiences and best practices in providing developmental cooperation.
Fighting terrorism and responding to global security challenges
Prime Minister May strongly condemned the September terrorist attack on the Indian Army Brigade headquarters in Uri, and offered condolences to the victims and their families.
The 2 leaders strongly affirmed that terrorism is a serious threat to humanity. They reiterated their strong commitment to combat terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, and stressed that there can be no justification for acts of terror on any grounds whatsoever – agreeing that there should be zero tolerance of terrorism.
India and the United Kingdom have both suffered the human cost of terrorism, and now work in partnership to tackle the threat terrorism and violent extremism poses. Our 2 countries understand the increasingly transnational challenge of terrorism which demands multilateral as well as bilateral cooperation.
International cooperation to combat terrorism is at the core of successfully denying terrorists the space to radicalise, recruit and conduct attacks. The 2 leaders welcomed the ongoing bilateral counter terrorism cooperation and called for greater sharing of information between the 2 sides.
Both countries agreed to collaborate with each other to reduce the threat from violent extremist use of the internet, including the sharing of best practices to reduce radicalisation and recruitment attempts online.
The 2 prime ministers affirmed that the fight against terrorism should not only seek to disrupt and bring to justice terrorists, terror organisations and networks, but should also identify, hold accountable and take strong measures against all those who encourage, support and finance terrorism, provide sanctuary to terrorists and terror groups, and falsely extol their virtues.
There should be no glorification of terrorists or efforts to make a distinction between good and bad terrorists. They agreed that South Asia should be stable, prosperous and free from terror and called on all countries to work towards that goal.
Both prime ministers acknowledged that terrorism and violent extremism poses one of the most serious threats to international peace and security and in this regard called for concerted global action without selectivity. The 2 leaders called for urgent measures to counter and prevent the spread of terrorism, violent extremism and radicalisation.
The leaders welcomed the recent UK-initiated joint statement on Preventing Violent Extremism launched at the Global Countering Terrorism Forum in New York. The 2 leaders also called for strengthening the existing international counter terrorism legal framework including through the adoption of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism. The 2 leaders reiterated their call for Pakistan to bring the perpetrators of the November 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai and 2016 Pathankot attack to justice.
Enhancing defence partnership
Building on the Defence and International Security Partnership (DISP) agreed in November 2015, the UK and India are committed to further strengthening their strategic partnership in defence.
The 2 prime ministers recognised the potential for cooperation in defence manufacturing between UK and Indian companies in the ‘Make in India’ framework and agreed to encourage and facilitate such cooperation. The UK will continue their engagement with the Indian MOD and Indian defence companies to simplify and expedite export controls and to support the transfer of technology to enable projects in areas of mutual interest.
Noting that ongoing cooperation between HAL and BAE Systems in manufacturing Hawk Advanced Jet Trainers in India as an example of partnership in defence manufacturing, the prime ministers agreed to apply innovative approaches to jointly promote products and services into international markets.
The 2 prime ministers tasked the Defence Consultative Group (DCG) on 15-16th November 2016 to take forward the bilateral defence cooperation agenda including the UK’s proposals for Capability Partnerships, through a range of activities including military to military cooperation, training and exchange of subject matter experts, research and technology linkages as well as defence manufacturing.
The UK and India also remain committed to promoting a free, open, peaceful and secure cyberspace. The UK and India will work together to support the multi-stakeholder model of internet governance. The UK fully supports PM Modi’s vision of a digital India. The growing India-UK cyber relationship is a success story of the Defence and International Security Partnership (DISP).
The 2 prime ministers announced their desire to enter into a Framework for the UK-India Cyber Relationship. The prime ministers also noted with satisfaction progress made on cyber security, including regular cooperation to tackle the shared threat of cyber crime, and the signing of an MOU between respective Computer Security Incident Response Teams in March 2016.
Freedom of the seas
The 2 sides underlined the importance of maintaining the legal order for the seas and oceans based on the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). They reaffirmed their respect for and commitment to the freedom of navigation and overflight based on the universally recognised principles of international law, as reflected in the UNCLOS.
They stated that all related territorial and jurisdictional disputes should be resolved by peaceful means, without resorting to the threat or use of force. They urged States to respect UNCLOS and refrain from activities which prejudice the peace, good order and security of the oceans.
The 2 prime ministers recognised the increasing role of India as a global player. In this context, they recognised the constructive contribution of India in building peace and stability in the South Asia region, including through its expansive development cooperation in Afghanistan.
In this context, they expressed support for the efforts of Afghan security forces against the continuing threat of terrorism in Afghanistan and strongly endorsed their efforts to ensure Afghanistan’s security. Noting that a secure and stable Afghanistan would contribute to peace and prosperity of the region, they agreed that a political settlement in Afghanistan has to be Afghan-owned and Afghan-led and will succeed only if the Taliban insurgency abandons violence and abides by democratic norms.
They also welcomed the pledges of support to Afghanistan by the UK, India and the international community at the Brussels Conference, and agreed to work together to help the Government of Afghanistan deliver its ambitious reform programme. The UK side extended its support to India for the Sixth Ministerial Meeting of the Heart of Asia Istanbul Process on Afghanistan in Amritsar on 4 December 2016.
Both nations agreed to continue their engagement with the Maldives to strengthen its democratic institutions.
The prime ministers noted the progress made by Sri Lanka in line with UN Human Rights Council Resolution 30/1 and agreed that more needed to be done. They committed to continue working closely with the Sri Lankan Government to achieve this.
The 2 prime ministers reaffirmed their support to the people and the Government of Iraq in their war against terrorism and welcomed the Iraqi-led operation to liberate Mosul and other cities from the control of terrorist organisation ISIS. The 2 leaders emphasised the importance of national reconciliation and unity in Iraq and expressed belief that, with international support, Iraq will be able to defeat terrorism and would successfully overcome the challenges it faces.
Extradition, returns and mobility
The 2 prime ministers affirmed their strong commitment to enhance co-operation under the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty. The 2 leaders agreed that fugitives and criminals should not be allowed to escape the law. They expressed their strong commitment to facilitate outstanding extradition requests from both sides.
In this context, they directed that the officials dealing with extradition matters from both sides should meet at the earliest to develop better understanding of each countries’ legal processes and requirements, share best practices, and identify the causes of delays and expedite pending requests. They also agreed that regular interactions between the relevant India-UK authorities would be useful to resolve all outstanding cases expeditiously.
The 2 prime ministers acknowledged the valuable contributions of the 1.5 million strong Indian diaspora to British society and their role in furthering bilateral relations. They recognised that mobility can strengthen people-to-people relations between the 2 countries. To this end, both parties agreed that visa regimes need to be as simple and efficient as possible for students, businesses, professionals, diplomats and officials and other travellers, including facilitating short-term mobility of skilled personnel between the 2 countries.
The 2 leaders noted that the UK remained a popular destination for Indian students and that these students add to deepening India-UK partnership across all sectors of bilateral engagement. Prime Minister May noted that there remained no cap on overall numbers of international students studying at recognised educational institutions in the UK, that Indian students would continue to be welcome and that the UK Home Secretary had recently announced her intention to consult on changes to the UK student visa regime.
Prime Minister Modi welcomed Prime Minister May’s announcement that the UK is to offer new services to improve business travel for Indian visitors to the UK. India will become the first visa country to be offered the Registered Traveller Scheme, offering business travellers expedited clearance at the UK border.
The Indian government will become the first government in the world to be invited to nominate senior business executives to the Great Club, a bespoke visa and immigration service. The 2 prime ministers welcomed these changes. These changes further reflect the fact that India will have one of the best UK visa services of any country in the world, with more application points than anywhere else and the only place where you can get a same-day visa, reflecting the UK government’s commitment to continuing to attract inward investment and business from India.
The 2 prime ministers agreed that ensuring simple and effective visa systems depended critically on cooperation to protect the integrity of border and immigration systems. This included ensuring the timely and efficient return of individuals to their country of origin as required by their respective national laws. Both countries agreed to strengthen cooperation in this area by implementing an expedited process for verifying the nationality and issuing travel documents.
The 2 prime ministers announced the launch of a senior UK-India dialogue on home affairs issues which will take place bi-annually and be chaired at Permanent Secretary/Secretary level. The prime ministers expect this dialogue to make progress on key issues of mutual concern, including opportunities to make the visa system simpler and more efficient, and steps to improve the integrity of border and immigration systems.
The 2 prime ministers noted that 2016 is the India-UK Year of Education, Research and Innovation and welcomed the further investment (£20m) in the UK-India Education Research Initiative (UKIERI) to 2021, creating 50 new partnerships in 2017.
Both prime ministers welcomed first 35 UK faculties visiting India under the Ministry of Human Resource Development funded GIAN programme and 198 new GREAT scholarships for Indian students to study at 40 UK universities. Both leaders welcomed the first batch of TCS sponsored UK interns, under the Generation UK-India programme.
Both prime ministers look forward to the celebration of 2017 as the India-UK Year of Culture and support the activities and programmes being planned, for example an exhibition of Indian Science in the Science Museum in London, and highlighting 400 years of Shakespeare. Both prime ministers welcomed new teaching materials to the Indian SWAYAM MOOC platform, developed in partnership by UK and Indian universities.
The UK is supporting the Skill India Mission through a Centre for Excellence for the automobile sector in Pune. Prime Minister May announced a new commitment of up to £12 million to support India’s Skill India mission. Technology transfer from the UK will facilitate international training standards in up to 5 sectors including apprenticeships and certification.
Harnessing science and technology for a better future
The 2 prime ministers noted that the exponential growth in science and technology programmes in India provide immense possibilities for further expanding bilateral collaboration. India-UK joint funding now stands at over £200 million and its leveraged impact on the economies and societies is several times higher.
They announced new research partnerships worth £80 million including a new Joint Strategic Group on Anti-Microbial Resistance (AMR) with a joint investment of up to £13 million. The prime ministers recognised that Anti-Microbial Resistance (AMR) is a global challenge, and further recognised the commitments made at the G20 and UNGA earlier this year.
Building upon the Thames-Ganga Partnership, the 2 prime ministers welcomed new initiatives on joint hydrological research programme and re-using waste water as well as innovative biotechnologies for cleaning and processing industrial waste, adding value to the Swachh Bharat programme.
Noting the growing partnership in the area of renewable energy and combating climate change, the 2 prime ministers welcomed the launch of a India-UK Clean Energy R&D Centre with a focus on solar energy storage and integration with joint investment of £10 million and a collaborative R&D programme on energy efficient building materials. Both these green initiatives would help to reduce carbon footprint and contribute to the Smart Cities programme.
Building on the recent successful collaborations in agriculture, the 2 sides announced projects to address post-harvest losses benefiting farmers. Building on the recent successful collaborations in healthcare, the 2 sides announced the launch of the second phase of joint research in women’s and children’s health in low-income settings.
The 2 leaders commended ongoing collaboration in biotechnology. The 2 sides looked forward to engaging on India’s efforts to develop a Bio-bank that will draw on UK Bio-Bank’s scientific expertise.
Prime Minister May thanked Prime Minister Modi for the warm hospitality extended to her and her delegation.