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India, UK ink pact on financial services, infra, sustainable finance

New Delhi: India and the UK on Wednesday inked a pact on financial services, infrastructure and sustainable finance, aimed at helping to boost jobs and investments in both the countries.

In order to build economic ties further, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and UK Chancellor of Exchequer Rishi Sunak held a virtual 10th edition of India-UK Economic and Financial Dialogue (EFD) between the two countries.

Speaking during a session on infrastructure and sustainable finance, Sitharaman said that India and the United Kingdom have agreed to establish a bilateral Sustainable Finance Forum.

‘India’s $1.4 trillion National Infrastructure Pipeline and the City of London are working together to ensure flows of sustainable finance. This Partnership is helping set up a Project Preparation Support Facility cum Centre of Excellence for PPP Projects,’ she added.

According to Sitharaman, the Green Growth Equity Fund (GGEF) was launched in 2018, as a joint venture with £240 million funding to catalyse financing into green infrastructure in India. British Petroleum has become the first private investor, contributing $70 million, said the Minister.

Sitharaman added that India and UK have increased cooperation through the International Solar Alliance and the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI), launched by Prime Minister, Narendra Modi and co-chaired by the UK.

As per the British High Commission in India’s release, “since the first EFD with India in 2007, UK bilateral trade with India has more than doubled to nearly £24 billion in 2019.”

Sitharaman and the chancellor discussed the importance of continuing to work together to deal with the global economic impact of Coronavirus, which the India and the UK are already leading as co-authors of the G20 Action Plan, apart from tackling climate change through sustainable finance.

Sunak said, “The UK’s economic and financial relationship with India has never been more important with the global challenges we face. Today, we set out our ambition for even stronger ties, with an agreement that will increase investment and create and secure jobs.”

“We are also committed to working together to lead the global economic recovery as we build back better after the pandemic”, he added.

The agreements, which were signed on Wednesday, include a new strategic partnership to accelerate the development of Gujarat International Finance Tec (GIFT) City as an international financial centre, including regulatory capacity building support for the new International Financial Services Centre Authority, UK-India Partnership on Infrastructure Policy and Financing to support the Indian National Infrastructure Pipeline with UK commercial expertise and financing, strengthening cooperation on mobilising private capital into green investment, including through a new UK-India Sustainable Finance Forum, and greening the financial system, fresh mandate for the industry-led India-UK Financial Partnership to explore closer financial ties in areas including FinTech, creating a new Financial Markets Dialogue to remove regulatory and market access barriers for UK and Indian firms.

Besides, they also inked pact on joint investment by UK Research and Innovation and India’s Department of Biotechnology in research collaborations worth up to £8 million to understand the impact of Covid in South Asian populations in the UK and India

The Ministers also agreed to explore ways to boost investment in insurance through an increase in India’s foreign investment limit.

“The UK and India have built a strong partnership on FinTech, and the Ministers agreed to collaborate on facilitating the flow of faster and cheaper UK-India remittances”, the High Commission said.


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