Distinction in travel journalism
Is independent travel journalism important to you?
Click here to keep it independent

28 Jun, 2013

India Seeks Clarification over Cash Bonds for UK Visa, Stresses Impact on Investment, Trade


Ministry of Commerce & Industry, 25-June, 2013 – Mr Anand Sharma, Union Minister for Commerce and Industry visited UK on 23-25 June to review bilateral trade and investment and taking part in investment promotion events. He met Dr. Vince Cable, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, Mr. Oliver Letwin, Minister for Government policy in Cabinet office, Mr. Gregory barker, Minister in charge for business engagement with India and First/Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland.

In his meetings with both Dr Vince Cable and Mr Oliver Letwin, Mr Sharma expressed serious concerns over the news reports referring to a proposal to categorize India as high risk country entailing cash bonds from visa applicants. Dr Vince Cable informed the Indian Minister that he had discussed the issue with the British Home Secretary who had assured that there was proposal mooted for a pilot which has not been considered by the British Government. Mr Sharma suggested that given the strategic India–UK partnership a formal clarification to this effect would be in order to dispel any apprehension and avoid confusion.

The ministers reviewed progress on feasibility study of Bengaluru Mumbai Economic corridor, as envisaged in Joint Statement of India UK summit meeting in February 2013, and exchanged the Terms of Reference of study. Both sides agreed to establish Joint working group on the BMEC project for carrying out the co financed feasibility study and to explore the modalities technology and equity participation by UK. The British side showed keen interest in studying the financial structures being considered under the ongoing DMIC project and the governance structures for the NIMZs. This project is being projected as the cornerstone of India-UK partnership.

Mr Sharma emphasised that both sides should review the progress of work of Joint working groups under JETCO to leading to the bilateral JETCO meeting in the second half of this year. He invited UK minister to visit Central Manufacturing technology institute Bengaluru and NIMZ near Pune during the latter’s visit to India.

Both sides discussed steps for early conclusion of India EU BTIA. The Indian Minister emphasised the need for pragmatism in harvesting the agreements made till now on various issues and realising the benefits of adopting incremental approach for conclusion of the agreement. He explained that the Indian offer is robust, balanced and fair and that the BTIA would be the most ambitious trade deal for both India and EU.

Mr Sharma explained the long term investment opportunities made available by National Manufacturing policy and the NIMZs being established as Greenfield, self governed Industrial townships having single window clearance and several incentives.

Mr Sharma, along with UK Minister Gregory Barker, addressed a gathering of 200 British and Indian CEOs in Belfast and explained the steps taken by the Indian government to further improve the investment attractiveness of the business environment. He and Lord Green UK minister for trade and investment also addressed a meeting of British businesses about the long term growth prospects of Indian economy and the bilateral business relations.