India can shoulder some of the global growth contribution previously made by the Chinese economy, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said in London, ahead of his trip to Davos. The world was now looking for additional “shoulders to rest global growth on,” and India would be part of it he said, acknowledging the “serious challenges” faced by the global economy.
During a three-day visit to London, Jaitley met with Britain’s Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne, as well as with business persons, investors, and others interested in the opening up of sectors in India. “India’s growth rate, despite challenges is, among the major economies, the highest in the world and India is an economy that requires large amount of investment to fill the infrastructure gap. This is one of the better options that investors have and this gets echoed in meetings with investors we’ve had, who are watching the way the reform process in India moves,” he said during a press conference on Tuesday afternoon.
He pointed to the example of the manufacturing sector, where early indications for the year, gleaned from indicators such as indirect tax revenue, were that growth was returning. “We can still do better and the impact of investments we are making in infrastructure will be felt much more.”
In a joint statement with Osborne, following the UK-India Economic and Financial Dialogue held on Tuesday afternoon, Jaitley said in view of challenging economic circumstances globally the two nations stood ready to open up trade and markets to support growth and jobs. “We…agree on the importance of structural reforms and pursuing credible fiscal policies in order to raise living standards.” Jaitley’s visit follows closely on the heels of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the UK in November.
Among the issues discussed at Tuesday’s meetings were cooperation on cross border tax evasion and avoidance. The two countries are set to begin the automatic exchange of tax information in 2017. Other issues discussed included the EU-India Broad Based Trade ad Investment Agreement, and ways in which Britain could participate in the financing of India’s infrastructure needs, through the National Investment and Infrastructure Fund, and other means.
The two sides also agreed to continue to push for greater cooperation between financial institutions, including London’s growing role as a hub for rupee-denominated bonds, and the opening up of the legal sector to international expertise.
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