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26 July, 2006 - 07:16 By Staff Reporter

Brilliant science can convert to marketplace

Indian companies invested around £1.1bn into the UK in the last 12 months and new projects generated almost 1,500 new jobs.

Indian companies invested around £1.1bn into the UK in the last 12 months and new projects generated almost 1,500 new jobs.

The performance hoisted India from eighth place to third in the league table of leading investors into the UK behind only the United States and Japan.

The 76 Indian projects in the UK generated 1,449 new jobs; the US’s 446 projects created 14,431 new jobs while Japan’s 84 projects led to 2,054 fresh jobs, according to the UK Inward Investment Report 2005-06.

Mike Connor, British Deputy High Commissioner in southern India, said: “This growth in Indian investments in the UK is extremely good news for Britain and exciting for India.

“The main reason for the inward investment success is that the UK has an open and welcoming economy and allows dynamic businesses to grasp these opportunities and take advantage of the high value activities in the UK.”

Indian investors into the UK included Shasun Chemicals, El Forge, Satyam Computer Services, Aurobindo Pharma, Clintox Bioservices and Northgate Technologies (all from south India).

Companies from the south of the country accounted for 30 per cent of the number of projects by Indian companies in the UK. “It reinforces how, increasingly the best companies from India’s new economy sectors are seeing the UK as a business partner,” Connor said.

India has also committed up to £7.6 million for joint work in research with the UK following meetings of the Indo-UK Science and Innovation Council in London. Two-way trade is thriving: The UK is now the fourth largest investor in India, after the Mauritius, the US and Singapore.

Banking, insurance, financial services and the legal sector are all showing substantial growth for UK companies trading within India. The prospects are so encouraging that the High Commission is to recruit more staff in Chennai to help UK companies keen to invest in the southern region of India.

Coming this way – apart from ICT investments – there have been investments in pharmaceuticals and engineering, many of them in the regions.

Dr Shai Vyakarnam, director of the Centre for Entrepreneurial Learning at the University of Cambridge and an increasingly influential figure in two-way trade between India and the UK, believes brilliant science will provide a platform fur future success in both countries – and in collaborations between them.

He said: “The Indian Prime Minister recently inaugurated the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research near Kolkatta and in his speech said he believed that where there was good science, good applications would follow.

“He made the point that ‘it is fundamental chemistry that gave us catalysts, polymers and semiconducters. It is good biology that can give us the green revolution and the hepatitis vaccine.’

“The Prime Minister’s belief in the ability to convert science to good applications or businesses was echoed in the visit to Cambridge recently of a senior delegation that came to discover how Cambridge had moved from being a university town into a city strong on enterprise.”

Dr Vyakarnam is equally encouraged by the faith others are showing in investing in India as its own economy further matures.

He said: “The controversial businessman Lakshmi Mittal has announced $8.5 billion in investment in India to create new units in the mineral rich coastal state of Orissa and possibly elsewhere in India.

“IBM also made an announcement to invest in India in growing its research base. The total investment planned is $6.5 billion. These shows of faith are exactly what India needs at this time to underline its vast economic potential.”


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