“Sat Sri Akal”
It is a great pleasure to be in “The City Beautiful”.
And it’s a great privilege to be opening the UK’s new Deputy High Commission here in Chandigarh.
Prime Minister Modi has called the UK and India “an unbeatable combination”. I agree.
The UK has an economy that’s on the move and so does India.
The UK has a long-term economic plan to secure our prosperity and our competitiveness. So does India.
Last year the UK was the fastest-growing major economy in the world. India has the potential to be the world’s most dynamic economy.
And we’re a particularly good match here in Chandigarh.
As many members of the Punjabi community in the UK will tell you, the UK is a great place to invest and a great place to do business with.
Low inflation and interest rates. Investment flowing into infrastructure. The lowest corporation tax rate in the G20 and by far the lowest in the G7.
We’re committed to making it even better.
We’ve guaranteed to have the most competitive corporate tax regime in the G20, and to keep it that way.
And we’re determined to invest in our strategic partnerships around the world to boost cultural and commercial links and promote shared security interests.
India is at the forefront of our thinking and DHC Chandigarh is just the latest addition to our network in India which is now the biggest diplomatic network of any country in India and biggest British diplomatic network anywhere in the world.
But why this should this surprise you?
The UK is India’s largest G20 investor, investing more than the US and Japan combined and UK strengths on business, support on “smart” cities, and on sustainable energy are a great fit with India’s reform programme.
Our diplomatic network may be big but it is dwarfed by the size of Indian diaspora in the UK, each and every member of which is an Ambassador, promoting closer UK-India ties, day in day out. And, by the way, making a massive contribution to Britain’s vitality and prosperity.
Our cultural links are a unique asset.
I’m delighted that our two Governments have agreed to extend the UK India Education and Research Initiative for a further five years.
We’re offering a record number of scholarships to India for the coming year. Our flagship Chevening programme is the largest in the world, offering fully-funded UK education for 130 Indian students. And over 250,000 Indian students have studied in the UK over last decade. We welcome more and a new Generation UK-India programme aims to bring 25,000 UK students to India by 2020.
The fact that we are opening a new Deputy High Commission in Chandigarh speaks of our belief in India’s future.
And it speaks of our desire to play a prominent partnership role with India’s states, where so much of India’s story is written.
So I congratulate everyone who has been involved in helping make the DHC Chandigarh, with the British Council right next door, the latest addition to Team UK-India and I wish you every success in helping make that unbeatable combination even more formidable in the future!
The UK’s diplomatic missions in India are a High Commission in Delhi; and Deputy High Commissions in Ahmedabad; Bangalore; Chandigarh; Chennai; Hyderabad; Kolkata; and Mumbai. There is also a Trade Office in Pune and a British Nationals’ Assistance Office in Goa.
Follow the Foreign Secretary on twitter @PHammondMP
Follow the Foreign Office on twitter @foreignoffice
Follow the Foreign Office on facebook and Google+