Top lawmakers, business leaders and influential commentators, including UK's home secretary Priti Patel and India's Shashi Tharoor along with OLA co-founder and CEO Bhavish Aggarwal set forth the way forward for dialogue between both nations around the central theme of Reimagine@75.
Among the highlights was a session on Post-Covid Healthcare Delivery, with Dr Mansukh Mandaviya, union minister for health & family welfare, Government of India, and Rt Hon Sajid Javid, secretary of state for health and social care, UK Government.
Sajid Javid, secretary of state for health & social care, UK Government said, "One important area UK-India are working together on is antimicrobial resistance. India has also helped us with vaccines. When India saw a big surge, we were able to help with PPE kits. India and the UK working together will be much better prepared for future healthcare risks. Covid was a catalyst for change in terms of digital use in healthcare and that will build up further.”
Mansukh Mandaviya, Union Minister for Health & Family Welfare, Government of India, said: “With Covid, healthcare and emergency crisis management has emerged as another important collaboration area in an already strong UK-India healthcare partnership. Covid-19 has highlighted the need to build resilient health infrastructures.
The Forum opened with a diaspora living bridge focus, with UK home secretary Priti Patel saying: “India Global Forum is the forum that actually brings two countries together, very much on the people side. We are rooted together – culturally, people, education, skills and economy."
Commenting on an upcoming FTA, the Rt Hon Anne-Marie Trevelyan said “Our nations’ ties have really matured over the last 75 years. We are taking this productive relationship to a new level with a free trade agreement. An agreement will mark a major step in a new direction for the 21st century.
“This FTA deal could offer us unique opportunities. The FTA is a major step forward but that’s not the only way we are seeking progress in the UK-India relationship; building partnerships that benefit the environment and our economies. For UK businesses, access to an economy projected to be third-largest by 2050, with a population of 1.4 billion people could be transformative. An agreement could provide room for growth.”
She further added: “We are also concentrating on removing those trade barriers that can hinder businesses from exporting. This will be a fantastic FTA for the UK. There are opportunities for our businesses to find new markets, and take the best of the British brands to India.”
The two-day Forum, at the heart of UK-India Week, has had an excellent array of conversations featuring industry leaders, pioneering entrepreneurs, and lawmakers.
Bhavish Aggarwal, co-founder & CEO, of OLA said: “The biggest challenges for us as a society are climate change and energy security for countries like India. Mobility is at the heart of this new challenge. I believe in the next decade or two, some of the biggest innovations will happen in the field of energy and mobility.
During a fascinating debate on the idea of Great Britain, parliamentarian and author Dr Shashi Tharoor said: “We have been hearing some very positive noises on a UK-India free trade agreement (FTA). There has got to be a bit of give on both sides. I can see a global Britain trading on equal terms – give and take – with partners around the world”.
*Follow the action @IGFupdates #UKIndiaWeek
UK-India Week 2022 opened on June 27 with the Creative Industries and Cultural Economy Seminar at Nehru Centre, London, and has since covered the Climate Finance and Technology Summit as well as the strategic forum Reimagine@75. The week will conclude on July 1 with a glittering UK-India Awards ceremony in Windsor.
The UK-India Week is organised by IGF annually as a celebration of the myriad facets of this important bilateral relationship. The 2022 edition (27 June to 1 July) comes packed with a high-powered agenda, covering trade and economic exchanges, climate action, healthcare, technology, innovation and much more.
*The Programme for UK-India Week 2022 is here.
Just some of the high-profile speakers confirmed over the course of the week include:
- Rishi Sunak, Chancellor of the Exchequer, UK Government
- Dr S Jaishankar, Minister of External Affairs, Government of India
- Sajid Javid, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, UK Government
- Dr Mansukh Mandaviya, Union Minister for Health & Family Welfare, Government of India
- Dharmendra Pradhan, Minister of Education and Minister of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship, Government of India
- Bhupender Yadav, Minister of Labour & Employment, Environment, Forest & Climate Change, Government of India
- Dr Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Minister of State for Skill Development, Entrepreneurship, Electronics and IT, Government of India
- Arjun Ram Meghwal, Minister of State for External Affairs of India
- Alok Sharma, President, COP 26
*The full list of speakers is here.