Indian and UK firms to sign deals worth £9bn amid protests

Visiting Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, has been confronted with angry protests during his talks with David Cameron as deals worth £9bn are to be signed signalling closer economic ties between the two nations.

The leaders have agreed to work more closely together on issues such as finance, defence, nuclear power and climate change.

The first serving Indian Prime Minister to speak to Parliament, Mr Modi said, “The progress of India is the destiny of one sixth of humanity.”

Telling MP’s, “We are igniting the engines of our manufacturing sector.” This will come as great comfort to UK manufacturing who saw a three month low in performance at UK factories in September.

A growing economy

India is currently the fastest growing large economy in the world, and the UK is keen to boost their own growth by closer links to the nation. In return, India is hoping that closer relations with the UK will give it vital access to other EU markets with Mr Modi saying, “Yes we are going to other European countries as well, but we will continue consider the UK as our entry point to the EU as far as possible.”

Whilst business may be keen to push relations with India forward, a number of groups have protested at Mr Modi’s visit, accusing him of violent authoritarianism and some groups chanting, “Modi is a terrorist” displaying signs accusing him of being a murderer. 

In October there were similar objections to Chinese Presidents Xi Jinping’s visit to the UK, with protests during the state procession from various groups at China’s human rights record. There is increasing concern amonst many that the UK is content to over look human rights abuses abroad in return for economic success.

Key Facts

  • Prime Minister Modi came to power last year after a landslide victory.
  • A Hindu nationalist, until 2012, he was banned from entry to the UK, US and several EU member states following anti-Muslim riots in Gujarat a decade earlier. State governor at the time, he denied wrong doing whilst being strongly criticised for not intervening.
  • He has been accused of encouraging an atmosphere of religious violence and human rights abuses, groups such as Amnesty International have claimed.
  • The UK and India have been interlinked for over 200 years, with the British Crown ruling India from 1858 until 1947, when it gained independence, and strong links via the East India company before that.
  • Imports from India were worth approximately £6.5bn in 2014 and exports £4bn, down from their 2011 peak of £5.6bn.
  • Currently 110,000 people are employed by Indian business in the UK.