A group comprising nearly 40 chief executives and young business leaders from across India has arrived in London to take part in the Commonwealth Business Forum 2018.
The three-day event represents an integral part of the 25th Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) and will bring together businesses and government representatives from across the Commonwealth’s 53 member countries.
Rakesh Bharti Mittal, recently elected president of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and vice-chairman of Bharti Enterprises, is leading the Indian delegation with the intention of reinforcing Indian industry’s commitment to strengthening business ties across Commonwealth nations. The delegation’s members include representatives from Nicco Engineering Services, Cadila Pharmaceuticals, Hero Future Energies and Piramal Enterprises.
More than 800 chief executives and board members from high-profile firms will come together for the Forum, attending networking events, business meetings and 40-plus sessions on key economic and business topics.
Several engagements have been lined up to deliberate key themes, such as boosting trade and enhancing sector cooperation where Indian industry’s key interests lie, including in digital technologies, agriculture and food security, education and skills, infrastructure, healthcare and energy security and renewable technologies.
Chandrajit Banerjee, director general of the CII, hopes to see Indian business “lead the narrative” and play a key role in talks over the coming days.
He said: “The key question now is – what will be the new-age ‘common’ factor in the Commonwealth? India’s trade with Commonwealth nations is 20% of its global trade basket. We at CII believe that this opportunity and this network must be used to enhance the intra-Commonwealth trade and investment agenda.
“Indian companies have huge investments across the Commonwealth – in fact Africa, Malaysia, Singapore, UK and Australia which are Commonwealth counties, are among our top trading partners as well. Therefore, business must redefine and lay the foundation for the new evolving architecture of the Commonwealth – this presents a great opportunity for Indian business to lead the narrative, whether it is in trade facilitation, seamless movement of professionals and visitors, skills to support new-age employability, sustainability or small business.”
New models of collaboration between India and the UK, focusing on joint projects and investments in Africa, will also be discussed this week. A committee of hosts from the CII, along with Lord Popat from Harrow, UK Prime Minister’s trade envoy to Uganda and Rwanda, is co-hosting an India-UK-Africa Commonwealth Reception in Westminster. The event will bring together government dignitaries and business leaders to exchange views and ideas for greater business engagement.
Representatives from all 53 Commonwealth member countries, including India’s prime minister Narendra Modi, will gather in London and Windsor between April 16 and 20 for the CHOGM.
Main image: ©CII – Mr Rakesh Bharti Mittal, President, CII addressing at his first Press Conference on 12 April, 2018 in New Delhi.