UK-India tech partnership signals next steps in thriving relationship

This partnership was launched at a meeting of Prime Minister May and Prime Minister Modi. As part of this, techUK and the National Association of Software & Services Companies (NASSCOM) launched the UK-India Tech Alliance and agreed on a Memorandum of Understanding to support the flourishing IT sectors in both India and UK by developing stronger links, networks and joint platforms, helping enhance the skills of the technology workforce in both countries.

As I wrote ahead of Prime Minister Modi’s visit,  the UK India relationship is a key priority for our International Trade programme, with UK-Indian bilateral trade in goods and services worth £18 billion in 2017, and seeing year on year growth of 15%. India is an emerging tech powerhouse. Already the world’s second largest smartphone market, it is also on course to become the second largest market for IT generally by the end of 2018. The Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, has embarked on initiatives such as Digital India (potentially worth £45 billion over 10 years), Smart Cities (£20-24 billion over 10 years) and Make in India, which are set to transform the tech economy in India.

In November 2016, techUK and NASSCOM, ahead of Prime Minister May and Modi’s last meeting, wrote a joint letter to the Prime Ministers. It called on them to deepen the tech relationship between the two countries and help unlock a major new wave of digital growth.

The letter contained four priorities: pioneering innovation partnerships through the opening of a tech hub in India; valuing international talent by enjoying a frictionless immigration policy; sharing best practice on boosting digital skills, an important challenge for both countries; and a trade agreement fit for the digital age. While a trade agreement is still some way off, last week saw us take significant steps in the other areas including of course the welcomed announcement of the establishment of a UK India tech hub.

This progress follows a programme of activities aimed at enhancing the UK India tech trade relationship. In September 2017, techUK organised the first UK-India Working Group to explore how trade between the two countries in the tech sector can be increased. The working group formed part of techUK’s new International Trade programme and was supported by the Indian High Commission, London, the UK’s Department of International Trade, NASSCOM, the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), as well as leading UK and Indian tech companies. The outcomes of the working group have helped to inform the direction of the bilateral tech trade relationship and the actions of techUK’s International Trade India programme.

We followed this up in February 2018 by supporting the Northern Powerhouse’s Department for International Trade Mission to Hyderabad, Bangalore and Mumbai. I was delighted to join the mission which was attended by several techUK members. The visit provided an insight in to the excellent opportunity for partnership between UK and Indian tech companies.  The mission took in the NASSCOM Future Leaders Summit coinciding with WCIT India 2018 - The Olympics of the Global ICT Industry, as well as providing site visits to large Indian multinationals such as Wipro and Tech Mahindra and providing the opportunity for a number of one-to-one meetings with Indian tech companies of all size.

techUK is also proud to be the UK tech partner for the Access India Programme (AIP). The Access India Programme, launched in September 2017 by the High Commission of India in London, is a flagship programme assisting market entry into India. The programme is the first of its kind for supporting UK businesses access the Make in India initiative of the Government of India. The programme solely focuses on providing support to small and medium size UK enterprise

The formation of last week’s UK-India Tech Alliance and the announcement regarding the establishment of a Indian tech hub signals the next era in the UK India relationship.

The UK-India Tech Alliance  will see the technology sectors from the UK and India further strengthen their relationship. The partnership between techUK and NASSCOM will support the flourishing IT sectors in both India and UK by developing stronger links, networks and joint platforms, helping enhance the skills of the technology workforce in both countries.

The trade associations signed the MoU at the inaugural meeting of the UK-India Tech Alliance, in the presence of Baroness Fairhead CBE, Minister of State for Trade and Export Promotion. With the support of both Governments, the Alliance is aimed at increasing collaboration on skills and new technologies, assist in policy development and encourage innovation. This meeting will lay the groundwork for a roadmap which will be jointly presented in June.

The new partnership between the UK and Indian tech industries will promote the growth of skills needed for a world where artificial intelligence, machine learning, big data analytics and cybersecurity will be major technology growth areas.

Should you wish to know more about our International Trade Programme do please be in touch. For further information on the UK-India Partnership and Alliance, please visit the following links:

  1. PM Joint Statement
  2. DCMS Statement
  3. techUK Statement
  • Simon Spier

    Simon Spier

    Head of International Trade
    T 020 7331 2008

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