Osborne and Hague visit India to strengthen trade links

British Finance Minister George Osborne and Foreign Secretary William Hague

This article was last updated on April 16, 2022

British Finance Minister George Osborne and Foreign Secretary William HagueBritain’s finance minister George Osborne and Foreign Secretary William Hague have arrived to India on a two-day visit on Monday as they seek to strengthen trade links with the government of newly elected Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Apart from Mr Modi, the two Cabinet ministers will also meet the key players in the administration in New Delhi and the leading business figures.

European governments and the United States had boycotted Mr Modi for a decade over deadly religious riots while he was running his home state of Gujrat during 2002.

However, now they are renewing the ties between the two nations through making up for lost time, after the fears of erupting communal violence in India have proved wrong so far.

Afterwrads, Russia’s deputy prime minister, the French foreign minister and U.S. Senator John McCain have visited the third biggest economy of Asia in recent weeks.

The British cabinet ministers are also expected to hold talks with Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj and Finance and Defence Minister Arun Jaitley among others on Tuesday before meeting Mr Modi.

The Chancellor of Exchequer has told the top industrialists and business leaders in India’s financial hub: “I have been here for a day and already I can feel the buzz in the air… Good days are coming.”

While announcing the completion of a 428 million deal for multinational group MBDA headquartered in London to supply weapons to the Indian Air Force, creating “hundreds of jobs” in Britain, Mr Osborne has told the business captains: “India is embarking on an exciting journey of reform under your new government.

“I believe there to be no more reliable companion in that journey than the United Kingdom.”

Mr Osborne has also praised the efforts of Mr Modi for helping create a quick turnaround in investor sentiment and said: “Prime Minister Modi is seeking more investment in India’s economy – and I want British companies to provide it, and the British government to support it.”

Mr Hague has announced plans to strengthen educational ties between the U.K. and India with an expansion of the Chevening scholarship programme with the aim for mutual benefit through the flow of students, researchers, ideas and expertise.

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