Mayor Sadiq Khan announces historic visit to India and Pakistan this year

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Nation special report

LONDON: The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, will visit India and Pakistan later this year to promote the capital. He will meet senior politicians, business leaders and city chiefs in six major cities on a six-day mission to strengthen their economic and cultural ties with London.

The Mayor will visit Mumbai, Delhi and Amritsar in India, before heading to Lahore, Islamabad and Karachi in Pakistan on a trip that will take place towards the end of the year. Sadiq is the first major British politician to embark on a trade mission to both countries in recent times.

Sadiq’s ‘London is Open’ campaign will be the theme of his first official visit to both countries.  He will proclaim that London remains the world’s number-one destination for business, investment, talent and ideas during a series of high-profile events and meetings. And he will seek to demonstrate that, despite the EU Referendum vote, London continues to welcome people from across the world to work, study or visit.

Sadiq Khan, said: “As someone whose grandparents were born in India, and whose parents moved to London from Pakistan, I feel a deep affinity for the subcontinent. “But what excites me most about this trip is that I know it can deliver real benefits for Londoners. Benefits in terms of business and trade, jobs and investment, and in terms of cultural and technological exchange.

“This is a really important mission as there are so many areas in which London can work with its counterparts across India and Pakistan. Not only in business but in tackling some of the biggest challenges we all face – such as air pollution and climate change. I am passionate about showing that my city will always be open to engaging with partners from around the world, and I look forward to strengthening the bonds between London and our friends in India and Pakistan later this year.”

The itinerary for the Mayor’s visit is still being finalised but in both India and Pakistan he will meet with senior politicians, business leaders, artists, investors and entrepreneurs to discuss common areas of interest and opportunities to work together. The Mayor will be accompanied by his Deputy Mayor for Business, Rajesh Agrawal, and a packed agenda in both countries is expected to include discussions on business and investment, regeneration opportunities, visas and major events.

Between 2005 and 2016 the UK was the second largest destination for Indian investment and 44 per cent of the fastest growing Indian companies now have a base in London.

Sadiq is expected to meet leading figures in India’s phenomenally successful Bollywood film industry as well as representatives from the tech, education and sports sectors. In 2017, the UK and India have been celebrating a bilateral year of cultural exchange. A major programme of cultural events and activities in India have been organised by the British Council, and a similar programme in the UK organised by the Government of India.

A delegation of business leaders taking part in the Mayor’s International Business Programme will also meet up with Sadiq in Mumbai before they move onto Hyderabad and Bangalore.

Bilateral trade between the UK and Pakistan is valued at £2bn, and in 2015 five Pakistani companies were listed on the London Stock Exchange with a combined market value of £10.5bn. As a sign of an improving economy, in May Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI) reclassified Pakistan as an emerging market from frontier market status, driving a bullish trend in the Pakistan Stock Exchange. With a national population of 207 million and a fast-growing middle class, more than 100 British businesses are doing business in Pakistan to make the most of the massive opportunities

Only two cities in the world provide more investment in Pakistan than the capital and major London businesses operating in the country include Ernst & Young and Standard Chartered. Key events attended by Sadiq are expected to involve figures from the Pakistani cultural, sporting and financial sectors. The Mayor will also be accompanied by a group of senior business executives from the capital who are looking for trade deals or investment opportunities there. To mark the 70th Independence Anniversary of Pakistan, the Pakistan High Commission in London have commissioned ‘Emerging Pakistan’, a year-long campaign that showcases Pakistani culture, its landscape and people.

It is pertinent to mention here that more than 340 companies have enrolled on the Mayor’s International Business Programme since his election. These companies have travelled to sixteen cities around the world, securing £120 million worth of investment and creating over 400 additional jobs for London’s economy.

India

*   Indian companies invest more in the UK than they do in the rest of Europe combined, and employ around 110,000 people in the UK – with six of the largest Indian employers based in London.

*          India is the third-largest international student market in London (after China and America), with students from India contributing £130m per annum to the London economy.

*          From 2005 to 2016 the UK was the second largest destination for Indian FDI (behind only the US) – attracting 350 projects (9.6% of all of India’s FDI projects) that invested £9.2bn and created 41,100 jobs.

*          London is strengthening its dominance as the leading destination for Indian investment in the UK as 44% of the fastest-growing Indian companies are now based in London – an increase from 39% last year and 25% in 2015.

*          Tech is the top sector for Indian investment, accounting for 46% of all Indian investment.

*          In February the CBI published research showing that the UK remains the single largest G20 investor in India and supports close to 800,000 jobs in India.

(           Between 2008 and 2016, Film London has tracked more than £257million of inward investment from Indian film productions.

Pakistan

*          UK – Pakistan bilateral trade is valued at £2 billion.

*          The UK is the fourth largest source of foreign investment in Pakistan, following the UAE, US and China.

*          In 2015 there were five Pakistani companies listed on London Stock Exchange across the Main Market and AIM, with a combined market capitalisation of £10.5bn.

*          British businesses currently operating in Pakistan include Shell, Reckitt Benckiser, Bestway, AON, Standard Chartered, Ashmore, Ernst & Young, GlaxoSmithKline and Unilever.

*          The UK is Pakistan’s third largest export market.