This week, Wembley Stadium will host a very unusual sell out gig. Forget Taylor Swift or One Direction, this week’s hot ticket is for Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi. On Friday 13th, roughly up to 70,000 people are expected for his grand meeting at Wembley, marking the first visit of an Indian Prime Minister to the UK for a decade. This is a part of a series of global tours that most pop stars would kill for. In New York this September, 18,000 people filled his rally at Madison Square Gardens, cementing his rockstar status with the global Indian diaspora.
As India’s global currency rises, many are reflecting on what the UK-India relations will look like in the future. On October 27th I attended the British Council’s India Forum 2015 to hear leading thinkers and practitioners’ perspective on the subject.
It is worth noting that the UK and India already have strong business and cultural links. There are around 1.5 million people of Indian descent living in the UK and a whole range of programmes supporting cultural exchanges between the two countries. There are also around 700 Indian-owned businesses in the UK, employing 100,000+ people.
Below are three ideas taken away from the forum on how the UK can develop its relations with India:
One area I would have liked to hear more about is partnerships in business incubation and acceleration, which has potential to give a new momentum to India-UK relations and deliver benefits to both countries when focusing on enterprises with a double or triple bottom line.
At Nesta, we explore many avenues to improve UK-India relations. One includes collaborating with the Department for International Development (DfID) to understand what good incubation (incubating ventures with social and economic returns) looks like in areas where enterprise support ecosystems are underdeveloped, like India’s low-income states. Other topics we are exploring include innovation policy for inclusive economic growth and citizen-centred smart cities.
This blog is part of a series of work on innovation in cities. Nesta's recent report on smart cities can be found here. Future blogs will explore common challenges that UK and Indian cities face.