As UK exits the European Union, the UK’s Industrial Strategy-driven tech and innovation offer to the Indian Government’s interest in technological solutions that support India’s (socio) economic growth, says Amo Kalar, Deputy Trade and Investment Commissioner, British High Commission.
Businesses, policy makers, venture capitalists, scientists and entrepreneurs came together last week for the India-UK FutureTech Festival.
Announced by Prime Ministers Narendra Modi and Theresa May in April 2018, the festival is a major initiative under the India-UK Technology Partnership, which seeks to pair businesses, universities and others from different regions in the UK with states in India.
In this context, Amo Kalar, Deputy Trade and Investment Commissioner, British High Commission spoke about the common interest areas, potential investment opportunities and the way forward for both countries in the field of technology.
Q: What is the nature of India and UK's partnership on technology?
A: Put simply — it is collaborative and dynamic. We began with a healthy existing collaboration where 31 percent of Indian investments in the UK are in tech, creating 33,000 out of 110,000 jobs.
Indian FDI into the UK increased by over 300 percent recently, and I suspect a healthy chunk of that in tech. The UK exported 344 million pounds of digital services to India in 2016. UK and India have been top five investors in each other’s economies since 2010.As we exit the European Union, the UK’s Industrial strategy-driven tech and innovation offer to the Indian government’s interest in technological solutions that support India’s (socio) economic growth. The UK — with a
tech sector that’s growing three times faster than any other — is the best partner to respond.Q. Have you identified areas where UK and India can partner meaningfully?
A. The UK-India Technology Partnership is ground-breaking, ambitious work. It covers a broad spread of deep tech areas- ranging from future mobility/electric vehicles to digital manufacturing, Modicare AI and fintech.
There are however, a couple of additional policy-relevant elements; linking the increasing devolution of research and innovation into the UK regions, with India’s march towards competitive federalism. The bilateral cluster partnerships respond to that.
Initially, the UK will invest 1 million pounds to pilot elements of the Partnership, supported by potentially up to a further 13 million pounds by 2022. We are putting our money where our mouth is.
We, in turn, can learn from India on global digital transformation for business. We cannot debate electric and connected vehicles without considering the impact on non-skilled jobs. Nor can we discuss the future of cybersecurity.Q. How is Brexit going to impact the relationship you have with India?
A: As I said earlier, the bilateral relationship is built on a strong existing collaboration which can only grow in the future. India matters. It is set to be the fastest growing G20 economy this year and the third largest economy in the world in purchasing power parity terms.
The relationship is not transactional, it is built on deep cooperation across trade, investment, the living bridge, research and the UK and India as a force for good. The UK — despite what you may hear — issues one in five visit visas globally to Indians.
Of course we need to continue co-producing technologies of the future, tackling tricky issues around the future of tech. But we start from an unshakeable foundation.
Q: The UK has been a large part of the revenue of the Indian IT industry a very long time. Are you engaging with Nasscom or other government or industry bodies on the issues the industry faces, including visas?
A: Nasscom is one of our closest partners, and a global leader in representing the views of a strong IT industry. Indeed they tell me that 20 percent of the Indian IT’s tech sector global revenues come from the UK, vs 60 percent from the US.
We need to turn up the dial. During PM Modi’s visit to the UK, NASSCOM and Tech UK launched the India-UK Tech CEO Alliance in the presence of both PMs. This developed stronger links, networks and joint platforms, and helped enhance the skills of the technology workforce in both countries.
I have just witnessed the latest Alliance meeting, and I can assure you that driven by two world- leading Chairs in Julian David and Debjani Ghosh, the agenda is moving rapidly. From digital skills to the jobs of the future, from STEM to STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Maths).Q: How are you collaborating with India on "Modicare"?
A: With India’s healthcare market estimated to grow to $280 billion by 2020 and the government’s recent commitment to developing 100 smart cities across the country, the demand for innovative healthcare solutions has never been higher.
Our new partnership with the Indian government in this area is called the Healthcare AI Catalyst.
The programme will bring out some of the leading UK health AI companies to India to install their solutions in government hospitals and Primary Health Centres, and demonstrate the potential of high-end AI to transform screening, diagnosis and early treatment.Our first companies will be starting work in early 2019, but we hope this is a bigger partnership that will bring a continual flow of UK companies to India over the next few years to support the Indian government’s healthcare
There are also plans to develop up to 5,000 diagnostic centres in India using NHS expertise, equipment and suppliers. Eleven new ‘medicities’ are already being developed in India, with related hospitals, nursing, and medical colleges, and research and innovation centers.The medicities programme is run by the Indo UK Institute of Health (IUIH) in partnership with leading UK hospitals, the first of which is King’s College Hospital.