A new international trade initiative unveiled this afternoon will bolster Manchester’s links with India and attract new investment to the city.
Details of the Manchester-India Partnership were outlined by Lord Jim O’Neill during a reception at the House of Commons.
The group will be chaired by Andrew Cowan, chief executive of Manchester Airport, and have dedicated staff in Delhi, Bangalore and Manchester.
Its goal will be to strengthen trade, investment, cultural and educational ties with India, operating under the banner “Make in India, Innovate with Manchester”. The partnership wants to build on the economic strategy championed by Prime Minister Modi, leveraging Manchester’s innovation and research capabilities in a broad range of sectors, from advanced materials to big data, in collaboration with Indian industry and research institutes.
Companies already signed up to the partnership include Deloitte, Manchester Airports Group, Squires Patton Boggs, Growth Company, MIDAS and Greater Manchester Local Enterprise Partnership.
The region has already seen major investment from knowledge-led Indian firms including as HCL Technologies, Hero Cycles and 42Gears. In addition, strategic partnerships by the universities of Salford and Bolton with Bangalore and the State of Karnataka have helped make Manchester an increasingly attractive option for Indian researchers, students and tourists.
Lord O’Neill said: “The Manchester-India Partnership is an exciting initiative, which recognises the rising importance of global cities in forging strategic international partnerships. India is one of the world’s largest and fastest growing economies; it therefore makes eminent sense for Manchester to further develop its air connectivity, trade, science and cultural links with this emerging global power.”
Manchester Airport is already the sixth largest European air gateway into India. A major target for the Manchester-India Partnership will be to encourage direct air routes to further broaden the existing economic and cultural links.
A statement released by the group highlighted the impact of the direct Manchester-Beijing air route, which generated an additional £138m into Manchester’s visitor economy in the first year of operation. It is hoped that, with similar focus, the city will attract direct Indian routes and in doing so facilitate comparable levels of investment and economic growth.
Andrew Cowan, chief executive of Manchester Airport, said: “Forging closer relationships with the world’s most important markets is key to the future prosperity of Manchester and the wider region.
“We have seen first-hand how direct air links can stimulate significant increases in inward investment, exports and research collaborations and that is why securing a route into India will be one of the Partnership’s number one priorities.”
David Landsman, chairman of the Confederation of Indian Industry’s India Business Forum and executive director of Tata Ltd, said it was time to put the spotlight on the huge contribution which Indian businesses make to the British economy.
“Today’s exhibition in Parliament showcases businesses in almost every sector, from banking to pharmaceuticals, from luxury cars to luxury hotels, from tea to IT, and of course the Indian food and restaurants which have become a full part of British culture.
“There are plenty of Indian businesses a stone’s throw from Parliament, but they can also be found right across the whole country. So we’re also proud today to be launching the Manchester-India Partnership, one more step towards deepening the relationship across the country.”
Today’s event will be followed by another launch in Mumbai on Feb 6, to be held as part of the UK-India Createch Summit.
Main image: Manchester skyline, ©Marketing Manchester