London mayor urges for India-UK partnership

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Mumbai, Nov 21 (UNI) Stating that India and UK, in particular London, can partner together to capitalise from the ongoing phenomenon on globalisation, the visiting Mayor of London Ken Livingstone made a strong case for London as a preferred city for Indian businessmen.

''London wants to be the most preferred destination for Indian companies looking to expand businesses abroad,'' Mr Livingstone said while speaking at a senior-level business conference on ''London and India: Partners in Globalisation -- what does it take to succeed as a global business?'' The seminar was organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and the Indo-British Partnership (IBP) India, in association with ''Think London'', the official Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) agency for the UK capital, here today.

Making a case for London as a global city, Mr Livingstone said London, with its multi-cultural labyrinth, matches the US in levels of productivity and competitiveness, is open to immigration and has an open pattern of investment. ''A dynamic place, London is the city to invest in,'' he said.

On strengthening London's infrastructure for attracting foreign investment and businesses, Mr livingstone said london was working overtime to streamline the operations at the various terminals at Heathrow Airport to facilitate a hassle-free entry into the city.

''London is spending GBP 10 billion on improving the city's transport system and is also looking at affordable housing for its population,'' Mr Livingstone added.

Stressing on the fact that investment is a two-way street, the Mayor said India accounts for just over 32 per cent of all European investments from India. On the other hand, the previous year saw USD 2 billion investment from the UK into India, a jump of 15 per cent over the previous year.

Mr Livingstone also spoke about Touchdown London, a start-up service due to start shortly, dedicated to Indian businesses wishing to establish themselves in London. The facility is managed by ''Think London''.

On the increasing globalisation of London, the Mayor said, ''we have recognised that the process of globalisation is not reversible. Any nation that promotes protectionism would be doing so at the cost of its economy, which will prove catastrophic in the long term.'' MORE UNI

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