London mayor Sadiq Khan has outlined his desire to build on the extensive ties that exist between Britain’s capital and India’s major cities.
Writing in the Hindustan Times, Mr Kahn said London was “open and welcoming to people from India to come to work, study and visit”, and that he wanted to see a strengthening of the “special relationship” that exists between India and the UK.
While reiterating that boosting trade between the UK and India is a vital part of that relationship, he said deeper city-to-city partnerships could help with tackling a whole range of issues, including air pollution, traffic congestion and increased strain on public services. Mr Kahn also hailed the Skill India training programme, underlining the importance of having citizens with the right skill sets to drive innovation.
Mr Kahn wrote: “There is a strong, enduring bond of friendship and collaboration that exists between Britain and India – between the world’s oldest democracy and its largest. I want this special relationship to grow even stronger.
“I believe that through greater city-to-city collaboration and a new focus on smart city initiatives, we can not only take big steps forward in creating greener and more sustainable cities, but also transform the way we design public services and deliver infrastructure to improve everybody’s quality of life. This is a huge opportunity – and one we must grasp.”
London’s mayor is just the latest British politician to highlight the importance of the relationship between India and the UK. Prime minister Theresa May led a 33-strong trade delegation to India in November 2016, her first such trip since taking office. Foreign secretary Boris Johnson followed in January with visit to New Delhi and Kolkata.
Last month, Britain’s minister of state for international trade, Greg Hands, told a gathering of Indian investors at the Houses of Parliament they had Britain’s “full support to invest and succeed here”.