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UK and India align closer with tech investments ahead of FTA negotiations

The two countries are investing £1 billion in new commercial deals while OneWeb has signed an agreement with India’s space agency

UK and Indian businesses are set to confirm over £1 billion in new investments and export deals today in areas from software engineering to property tech, ahead of the negotiations for a free trade agreement (FTA) later this week.

Prime minister Boris Johson is arriving in Gujarat today for the start of a two-day visit to India, where he aims to boost collaboration between the two countries and lower trade barriers for UK businesses. On Friday, the prime minister will move to New Delhi where negotiations for a UK-India FTA will continue, which the UK government hopes will double its trade and investment by 2030.

The UK government hopes the new deals will create around 11,000 jobs across the country. This includes the Indian software company Mastek which is investing £79 million to create 1600 jobs in the UK over the next three years while Tech Mahindra, an IT services company, will bolster AI growth and create 1,000 jobs.

Mphasis plans a £5 million investment to set up a new office in the north of England too, which it hopes will generate around 700 high skill jobs. Data analytics and design company Xelpmoc is set to invest £3.5 million in a technology and innovation excellence centre in the UK which will create 60 jobs.

Property Share, the first property-tech company from India to enter the UK market, will invest £10 million and create 60 jobs, while fintech firm Byjus has chosen the UK to be its first global innovation hub, creating 55 jobs through a £15 million investment.

UK firms will also invest in India, with Deliveroo setting up its largest technology hub outside of the UK in Hyderabad. What3Words is set to partner with Indian auto firms to provide accurate satellite navigation and the UK fintech Revolut will further expand into India and create hundreds more jobs, although it hasn’t declared how much it will invest yet.

“As I arrive in India today, I see vast possibilities for what our two great nations can achieve together. From next-generation 5G telecoms and AI to new partnerships in health research and renewable energy – the UK and India are leading the world,” said Johnson. “Our powerhouse partnership is delivering jobs, growth and opportunities for our people, and it will only go from strength to strength in the coming years.”

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The UK will also confirm new science and tech collaboration, including a digital health partnership and joint investment fund for Indian deep tech and AI startups. There will also be new AI scholarships for Indian students jointly funded by the UK’s Chevening programme and India’s Adani Group. Lastly, there will also be a £6 million investment from AI healthcare firm Qure-ai to open a centre of excellence in the UK.

OneWeb, the satellite firm that the UK government has a 20% stake in and the Indian company Bharti Global has a 39% stake in, has also signed a contract for satellite launches with New Space India Limited, the commercial arm of the Indian Space Research Organisation. The company had turned to SpaceX after it had to suspend satellite launches from the Russian spaceport when the Russian space agency demanded that the UK government sell its stake in the firm.

The commercial agreements signed today are aimed at bringing the countries closer together, ahead of British and Indian negotiating teams holding their third round of formal talks over the FTA in India next week. This is similar to how the UK negotiated its Digital Economy Agreement with Singapore in December last year, where the countries signed agreements bringing them closer on digital trade, cyber security, and digital identities before the agreement was signed.

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