World news story

Priti Patel is the British government’s 'first foot' to India

Minister for Employment and Indian Diaspora Champion embarks on three-city visit to India to build on success of PM Modi’s visit to UK.

Priti Patel MP

The Rt Hon Priti Patel MP, the British government’s Minister for Employment and Prime Minister David Cameron’s Indian Diaspora Champion, will visit Ahmedabad, Kolkata and New Delhi from 7-9 January. Minister Patel is the first British Minister to visit India in 2016. Her visit aims to build on the momentum created by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the UK in November 2015.

The minister will focus on strengthening people-to-people and cultural ties, and on expanding business links between the UK and India. She will also extend the UK’s commitment to support Prime Minister Modi’s ‘Skills India’ project and formally open the United Kingdom’s newest diplomatic mission in India.

Ms Patel said:

Prime Minister Modi’s historic visit to the UK showcased the successful collaboration between the world’s oldest democracy and the world’s largest democracy, and it truly marked a new era in our relationship. It provided a genuine opportunity for our two great nations to come together to deepen our existing bonds in business, trade, education, defence, security, culture and much more and in every walk of life our cooperation is creating skills and opportunities for our people. I am delighted to be visiting India this week to build on this momentum and progress.

The minister’s visit will begin in Gujarat, where she will inaugurate the new British Deputy High Commission in Ahmedabad. This will be the seventh British Deputy High Commission, cementing the UK’s position as the country with the largest diplomatic network in India. She will meet the Governor of Gujarat, His Excellency O P Kohli; Member of Parliament, Devusinh Chauhan and BJP youth leader, Amit Thaker who is also a Chevening alumnus.

The UK is the largest source of foreign direct investment into the state of Gujarat and during her discussions with state officials, the minister will discuss how bilateral trade and investment, innovation, technology and cultural ties between Gujarat and the UK can be further enhanced.

In Kolkata, the minister will speak at the inauguration of the Bengal Global Business Summit and meet the Chief Minister of West Bengal, Mamata Banerjee, to take forward Bengal-UK business and cultural ties.

While in Kolkata, the minister will also launch the ‘Roadmap on low-carbon and climate-resilient Kolkata strategy.’ The UK and the Kolkata Municipal Corporation have been collaborating for two years to prepare this strategy paper, which aims to create a ‘future climate smart Kolkata’. The roadmap contains recommendations across 20 sectors including disaster management, health, low-carbon procurement, resource conservation and use of solar energy.

In New Delhi, the minister will mark the launch of the new UK-India Skills Pledge agreed during PM Modi’s visit to the UK. Eleven British companies have committed to support skills development in India - HSBC, Barclays, BG Group, Rolls Royce, OCS, Mott Macdonald, G4S, BP, Aviva, M&S, GSK. These British companies currently train around 350,000 people in India and invest around £12.7M in training both to meet internal training requirements and as part of our wide ranging CSR programmes. By 2020 they expect to train 670,000 people and invest around 25M GBP in skills training in India.

Ms Patel said:

The UK and India are two great nations that share the same values: whoever you are, if you work hard and get on, the government will be on your side. We are supporting Prime Minister Modi to achieve his goal of preparing young Indians everywhere for the 21st century.

The minister is expected to call on ministers and senior officials in the Union Government. She will also participate in a diaspora event hosted by the Indian Minister for External Affairs Sushma Swaraj.

Further information

  • Priti Patel’s profile
  • you can follow the minister’s trip to India on WhatsApp. To get her insights, behind-the-scenes photos and videos, simply send a WhatsApp message with the word ‘hello’ to +44 7497 222 072 - and save the number in your contacts. Normal data charges apply.
  • the UK is the largest G20 investor in India and India invests in the UK more than the rest of the EU combined. During PM Modi’s visit to the UK we saw over £9bn worth of deals announced underscoring the strength of our partnership.
  • ‘GREAT for Collaboration’ is an ambitious and exciting new campaign to showcase India-UK business collaboration. The campaign, launched by Prime Minister Modi and Prime Minister Cameron, will inspire new partnerships and encourage greater awareness of the scale of the UK’s commitment to India. The overall objective is to increase business between the two countries. The campaign showcases and promotes collaborations of mutual benefit to India and the UK across a range of sectors, such as energy, healthcare, advanced manufacturing, financial services and infrastructure. See video.

For media enquiries please contact

Stuart Adam, Director,
Press and Communications
British High Commission,
Chanakyapuri, New Delhi 110021
Tel: 44192100; Fax: 24192411

Mail to: Jagori.dhar@fco.gov.uk
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Published 6 January 2016