Business secretary Vince Cable has called on UK firms to contribute to India’s infrastructure development as he witnessed the signing of a roads agreement with Indian road transport highways minister Kamal Nath.
The agreement between the UK and Indian governments will see greater cooperation in the roads sector, with UK contractors lending their expertise to their Indian counterparts.
India has 80,000km of road that need expanding or building and Mr Cable was joined by 50 UK companies eager to win contracts.
Among them were Arup, JCB, Mott MacDonald, Balfour Beatty and Pinsent Masons.
Mr Cable said: “UK firms with their world-class expertise and capabilities can be the partner of choice as India builds its capacities to fuel growth. This agreement will help to pave the way.”
The UK delegation met Minister Nath in New Delhi along with a delegation from the British India Road Group,senior officials from National Highways Authority of India, Indian contractors and funders.
The discussion touched on finance, procurement, technical design and construction, operation and maintenance.
Delegates focused on the ways in which the Government of India can boost capacity while achieving savings in cost, increased efficiencies and improved levels of service, operation and maintenance.
Minister Nath wants international investment for modernising roads in India and building them to an international standard.
The BIRG was formed to respond to the challenge and major UK firms are cueing up get involved.
Today Mr Cable will co-chair the annual meeting of JETCO, the UK-India Joint Economic and Trade Committee, with India’s Commerce Minister Anand Sharma.
He will also attend the launch of the Britain-India Infrastructure Group, with Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee and meet Salman Kurshid, Minister for Corporate and Minority Affairs.
The creation of the Britain-India Infrastructure Group was announced by the UK and Indian Prime Ministers last July to take forward business interests in India’s large scale infrastructure development programme.