I am delighted to be here in Bengaluru and I want to start by saying a special thank you to the High Commission, the Department for International Trade, the Indian government and the Chief Minister.
This reception concludes my visit to India – and what a visit it has been. At every turn I have seen the strength of our countries’ relationship and the scope for us to build upon that.
One of the areas in which we are strongest – and in which there is the most scope for progress – is technology. That is why I was at the India-UK Tech Summit yesterday, promoting some of our biggest businesses and brightest start-ups.
We’ve seen announcements made, MoUs signed and new ventures inaugurated in everything from life sciences to smart cities, robotics to design.
None of that would be complete without a visit to Bengaluru – the start-up capital of India, one of the ICT capitals of the world, and the smartest of cities.
Indeed, it demonstrates Britain’s increasing engagement with all the states of India, where so much growth is being generated and so many opportunities are being created. Bengaluru is leading the way in efforts to attract investment, and Britain is at the forefront of that.
Strength of relationship
This is where India’s future is formed. Where more than a quarter of all Indian start-ups originate. Where firms that have taken the world by storm were founded, nurtured and grown. Where engineers from around the country and the world come to learn new skills. And where global multinationals come to tap into the hugely impressive education, skills and research base.
You can see the strength of our countries’ relationship – and the links between our technology sectors – right here. There are the big British names – like Shell, GSK, AstraZeneca, Unilever, Rolls Royce and Vodafone – here. And there are firms here that are big employers at home, like Infosys, Wipro and MindTree.
But, as I said in Delhi, it is not just about the things we buy and sell from each other; is about the things we do together, from developing prosthetic technology to assessing the effects of the climate on water systems – all of which you can see in Bengaluru.
Indeed, I saw the effects of our collaboration earlier today when I visited Dynamatic, where together, we are making the wings of the world’s aircraft – and in doing so, bringing prosperity to both of our countries.
Scope for progress
As we all know, no G20 country has invested more in India since the turn of the century than Britain, while India is Britain’s second-biggest jobs creator.
When I hear facts like that, I do not just hear a reason to celebrate – I hear a reason to go further, to build on these things with more jobs, more investment, more trade and more collaboration. For that is what my visit is all about – building on a deep, unique relationship so we can deliver more prosperity, security and stability for all our people.
After all, Britain is at a huge moment of national change. We are leaving the European Union and forging a new role in the world – one that will see us making the most of our strengths, building upon our relationships across the globe and seeking new opportunities to generate prosperity and security for our people.
Because, as I have been arguing on this visit, free trade is a force for good – creating jobs, opportunities, growth and better living standards.
It is in tech that we see so much opportunity for progress – especially as India grows, becomes more connected, and follows Prime Minister Modi’s programme of reforms.
In Britain we have one of the finest tech sectors in the world – leaders in FinTech, artificial intelligence, machine learning and newer areas like RegTech – and I have been so proud to showcase many of them on this visit.
And we have an economy that is 6th in the world for the ease of doing business, the second in the global innovation index, with tax breaks for research and development, the lowest corporate tax in the G7, and 4 of the world’s top 8 universities.
So I want the message to ring out, across Bengaluru and beyond. If you want to invest: look to Britain. If you want the latest expertise: look to the British tech sector.
If you want to collaborate on some of the most exciting developments of our age: look to Britain’s scientists, engineers, programmers and technicians. From defeating anti-microbial resistance to finding new sources of energy, just think what we can accomplish together.
For our relationship is not transactional; it is potentially transformational – for both our countries, and the world beyond. After such a successful visit, I am even more convinced of that than ever.
I plan to work with Prime Minister Modi, his government and state governments like here in Karnataka so we can unleash that potential in every aspect of our countries’ relationship. And I know everyone here will be a big part of that.