Underlining economic challenges in the current global environment, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Monday India and the UK can leverage technological prowess to create new opportunities, while seeking investments in defence, manufacturing and aerospace sectors.
“Together, we can create a vibrant and thriving environment for new commercial applications with breakthrough technologies,” he said at the event, also attended by visiting UK Prime Minister Theresa May.
Modi further said that both countries face numerous economic challenges in the current global environment which directly affect trade and commerce.
“But I am confident that together we can leverage our scientific strengths and technological prowess to create new opportunities,” he added.
He said India’s vast traditional knowledge base can be coupled with UK’s modern scientific investigation to provide a holistic approach to preventive healthcare. “This can help address some of the modern lifestyle diseases that we face.” The prime minister said even though the quantum of bilateral trade has remained at the same level for the past five years, investments in both directions have been robust.
India, he said, is the third largest investor in the UK, and Britain is the largest G20 investor in India. Both countries support large numbers of jobs in each other’s economies. Modi said the ‘Smart City’ mission aims to integrate digital technology into rapidly urbanising environment and there is already a high level of interest from the UK in projects in Pune, Amaravati and Indore.
Stating that India’s partnership with UK in industrial research has been one of the most exciting programmes, Modi said the Global Innovation & Technology Alliance or GITA platform of CII and Department of Science and Technology along with Innovate-UK supports industry led R&D projects in affordable healthcare, clean technology, manufacturing and information and communications and technology (ICT).
These sectors open new potential for Indian and UK businesses to convert the scientific knowledge into technology-based enterprises. He said Indian innovative entrepreneurs, talented work
force and R&D capabilities combined with large markets, demographic dividend and increasing economic competitiveness offer new growth sources for the world economy.
“Today, the world is at an inflection point where technology advancement is transformational. It is vital that India and the UK, two countries linked by history, work together to define the knowledge economy of the 21st Century,” he said.
The present India-UK cooperation in science and technology is driven by ‘high quality’ and ‘high impact’ research partnerships. “I am glad to mention that in less than two years’ time under the ‘Newton-Bhabha’ programme, we have started wide-ranging collaborations covering basic science to solution science aimed at addressing societal challenges,” he said.