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New economy, new rules:  Economic Times’ India-UK strategic conclave discusses future of India-UK Partnership

 Shah Rukh Khan receiving award 

  • The India-UK Strategic Conclave 2018 convened thought leaders, policymakers, academics and entrepreneurs at high profile event in London, powered by the Global Business Summit.
  • Panels and speakers discussed the India-UK strategic partnership in addition to UK and India’s Future Trading Relationship, the impact of Brexit and how to access the potential of India.
  • Notable speakers and panel lists included Sanjeev Gupta, Executive Chairman, GFG Alliance, Rajesh Agrawal, Deputy Mayor (Business) and Bollywood actor, producer and activist Shah Rukh Khan.

Tuesday saw the Economic Times’ India-UK Strategic Conclave 2018, powered by the Global Business Summit, taking place at The Dorchester, London.

The unique platform convened top CEOs, government officials and the global elite to discuss the India-UK relationship and future trade and business opportunities that could exist between the two countries.

The theme of the India-UK Conclave 2018 was“New Economy, New Rules”, and explored India’s rise as a global economic power as well as the development of the UK and India’s strategic partnership. The forum opened with remarks from Rinki Dhingra, Senior President and Country Head, Yes Bank, who said “Such a leadership forum demonstrates the strength of the India-UK partnership, and leads to the adoption of new creative ventures, innovations, technologies and paradigms, thereby becoming the platform for collective intelligence and wisdom, and a powerful tool for development.”

Rajesh Agrawal, Deputy Mayor (Business), London delivered a special address on the strategic ties between India and London, saying “The bilateral relationship is thriving and remains pivotal to London and the United Kingdom as a whole. The Mayor and I are strongly committed to ensuring this strong bond continues to flourish.”

Panels at the conclave included UK and India’s Future Trading Relationship – Forging Partnership of Prosperity, led by a host of Global CEOs including Neeraj Kanwar, Vice Chairman & Managing Director, Apollo Tyres and Sanjeev Gupta, Executive Chairman, GFG Alliance.

Special addresses at the conclave included His Excellency Mr. Y.K. Sinha, High Commissioner of India to United Kingdom, who shared his insights on the India-UK relationship and flourishing diaspora, as well as changing dynamics. Speaking about the immense contribution that the India diaspora and 800 Indian companies operating in the UK, he said: “The contribution that the common Indian has made to the UK economy and to better UK-India relations is something to be lauded.”

The conclave also hosted figures from the entertainment industry as well, with a special Fireside chat on the Business of Entertainment with A-list Bollywood actor, producer and activist Shah Rukh Khan. Speaking about the emergence of digital trends in the industry “With the digital platforms, I think you will get feedback very fast… there will be a lot of media created that will be according to the choice of the viewer.” 

Acclaimed actor, producer, singer and songwriter Farhan Akhtar, also took part in an audience interaction discussing his career and the launch of his new single and upcoming album.  Speaking about his album, he said “it’s something that’s very personal to me. I finally penned down thoughts from my life about emotions that I have experienced over the last couple of years….that was very refreshing.” 

Both Shah Rukh Khan and Farhan Akhtar were also recipients of the ET Game Changer Awards for their contribution to globalising Indian Cinema and experiments with contemporary cinema respectively. Other awardees were recognised for their contributions across a range of industries throughout the conclave, and included Vijay Goel, Founder and Chairman, Indo-European Business Forum,Vijay Karia, Chairman & Managing Director, Ravin for fueling Sustainable Energy solutions, Sanjay Ghodawat, Chairman & Managing Director, Sanjay Ghodawat Group of Companies for Driving Growth in Emerging India and Kishor Lulla, Chairman, Eros International for Changing Dynamics of Entertainment.

One of the key panel discussions of the day was Brexit – Can India Help Soften the Blow and the importance of India to the UK once it leaves the EU. Notable attendees for the discussion were Lord Jitesh Gadhia, Parliamentarian, House of Lords and Vindi Banga, Partner, Clayton Dubilier & Rice and Senior Independent Director on the Boards of Glaxo SmithKline Plc and Marks & Spencer Plc explored the possibilities and potential of India going forward.

According to Mr Banga: “We [India] is a $3 billion economy, very similar to the UK, but the only difference is that India is growing 6-7% each year. Therefore in five years’ time it will be 25% than the UK.”

He added: “Whichever sector you look at it, if you are a foreign company, you will take a serious look at India. However, it is not a walk in the park; it is a complicated market with good local competitors…it [India] will still be very high on the list of many.”

Lord Gadhia also provided a useful insight into the future of the UK. He argued a key issue is the supply chain for companies and stated the importance of free flow. Speaking at the event, he said: “Clearly in the next few months there is a degree of uncertainty. In some ways British parliament is in some period of playing Russian roulette. If there is anybody who tells you with confidence that they know what’s going to happen, then they are deluding themselves. Nonetheless, there is more of a chance that we will end up with a deal and the key is to retain sufficient access between the UK and Europe so that we don’t have the split platforms.”

A notable moment of the event was Gaur Gopal Das, who offered inspirational learning on the economy, saying “As individuals, as business houses it does not take any time to come from the front and go to the back if we are constantly willing to update our rules to play the game.”

He added that the importance of “strategy, adaptation and change” is essential in having a successful business and economy.

The conclave also featured a special address from Sarosh Zaiwalla, Founder and Senior Partner at Zaiwalla & Co. LLP. Speaking about how India can learn from China’s example in allowing foreign law firms to operate within the country, “An influx of international best practice would improve standards and an up to date legal system would encourage confidence for international businesses to enter the country…. Anyone can practice law in England and Wales provided they attain the required local qualifications…. I understand in US none of the states requires American citizenship as a necessity to practice law. This is the primary reason why the US,UK and China have attracted the world’s best talent (including many from India) to practice in their respective countries.”

Other Panels that took place throughout the day included discussions on Strengthening Sectors of Interest and Cultural Ties to Crack the Potential of the India-UK Relationship and the Role Clean Infrastructure Can Play in a Rapidly Growing India.

Launched in 2015, the Global Business Summit is a flagship initiative of the Times Group, India’s largest Media Conglomerate and owner of newspapers including The Economic Times. Presented by Yes Bank and The Economic Times, The Global Business Summit invites a range of thought leaders, policymakers, academics and entrepreneurs to discuss new ideas and actionable solutions to the macroeconomic challenges that exist around the world today. 

For more information, please visit www.et-indiaukconclave.com