Awards recognize the importance of UK – India relationships

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India-UK relationship ‘so important for the future of both of our countries’ says David Cameron

The former British Prime Minister, David Cameron, has said he is proud to receive recognition for his work to cement relationships between the UK and India.

Mr Cameron made the comments as he joined Rajesh Agrawal, Entrepreneur and Deputy London Mayor for Business in being honoured at The Indian Awards 2017 held in the Houses of Parliament last night (22 June).

Made up of six elite awards, the Special Recognition Award which applauds ‘an individual’s outstanding commitment to building UK-India relations’ was presented to David Cameron by H.E. Mr Y.K Sinha, the High Commissioner of India to the UK at his London Office.

In a pre-recorded message at the London ceremony, Mr Cameron said: “It is a huge honour to accept this award and I am absolutely passionate about the relationship between Britain and India. It is a relationship based on common interests, a relationship based on the extraordinary strengths of the British Indian Diaspora and Britons working in India. I am proud of the amount I have done to help build this relationship that is going to be so important for the future of both of our countries”.

The Indian Awards were founded by University of Southampton Law graduate Amarjit Singh, Chief Executive Officer of the India Business Group (IBG) and the University’s Special Advisor for India. They recognise UK-based individuals, businesses and organisations that have contributed to furthering the relationship culturally, socially or economically, between India and the UK.

“The India Business Group is delighted to present the inaugural Indian Awards initiative,” says Mr Singh.  “The modern relationship between the UK and India is at a key juncture. Through The Indian Awards we aim to inspire and encourage the next generation of UK and Indian entrepreneurs, facilitators and bridge builders who will take the bilateral relationship to greater heights.”

The IBG contends that British businesses should be at the front lines in boosting trade between members of the Commonwealth. To support this aspiration, the Indian Awards initiative aims to celebrate, commend and cement UK-India relations. The gala dinner marked the 70th anniversary of Indian independence and also the current India-UK Year of Culture.

The Awards ceremony was supported by a range of high profile partners, including the British Council, the Institute of Directors, global business brands and a recently-established charity – Catch Your Breath India – which was appointed as the official charity partner of the Awards. The invitation-only dinner featured senior business leaders, officials, opinion-formers, prominent members of the Indian community, guests from India and other parts of the World.

“As Britain navigates the Brexit negotiations, the UK Government has shown much enthusiasm for a free trade agreement with other commonwealth countries with India among the most important and largest,” says Mr Singh. “Theresa May made her first visit outside the EU to India after the Brexit vote as Prime Minister and it is hoped the continent is one of the key markets that will compensate for the loss of access to the European Single Market after Brexit.

Offering a common language, similar legal and political institutions and cultural ties, the estimated $2.3 trillion commercial market which the 52 Commonwealth nations represents is an unmissable golden opportunity for our post Brexit economy,” Mr Singh continues. “However, the intra-Commonwealth trade amounts to only 17% of the total Commonwealth global trade.

“Amid uncertainties about the nature of the UK’s trading relationship with the EU at the expiration of the Article 50 Process come April 2019, it is now more vital than ever that our bold businesses and innovative entrepreneurs spread their wings and fly to the wider global stage for fresh opportunities,” Mr Singh contends.

“India is one of the fastest growing major economies in the World, with growth rates hovering at around 7 percent GDP,” he continues.  “The UK is the single largest G20 investor in India and India is the third largest source of FDI into the UK. In view of the size, growth potential and ongoing reforms in the Indian market, it is clear that India is a magnet for British businesses.”

Professor Lord Patel of Bradford OBE, Chairman of India Business Group said:
“This special initiative celebrates, for the first time, the efforts of outstanding organisations and individuals (based in the UK) who have worked over the years to strengthen the bond between the UK and India. This inaugural awards ceremony is a timely reminder about the mutually beneficial, evolving and special relationship between our two great nations.”

Dr David Landsman OBE, Executive Director of Tata Limited, and one of the judges for the awards said: 
“Many people in both countries contribute to the growing India-UK relationship.  The Indian Awards 2017 have succeeded in identifying some of those who have gone well beyond the day job to make a real difference.   That’s what the relationship needs if it’s going to flourish and it has been an honour and a pleasure to be involved in a small way.”

“The Indian Awards 2017 is an important UK wide initiative for recognising entrepreneurs, inspirational people and organisations that have championed international cooperation between the UK and India. This is an opportune moment to celebrate the dynamic UK-India partnership, tying together both the 70th anniversary of India’s independence and the UK-India Year of Culture”.
Virendra Sharma MP, Chair of Indo – British APPG

The Rt Hon Patricia Scotland QC, The Secretary-General of the Commonwealth said:
“The Indian Awards 2017 are a welcome contribution towards raising awareness of the success and potential of Commonwealth connection. Acknowledgment of the achievements of individuals and businesses who are building on Commonwealth advantage, including bilaterally between the UK and India, encourages and inspires others as we work together to increase flows of trade and investment among Commonwealth countries.”

Stephen Martin, Director General of the Institute of Directors, one of the partner organisations for the awards said:
“The IOD is delighted to have participated in The Indian Awards 2017, particularly at a time when the UK needs to turn its idea of “Global Britain” into a tangible reality. Growing business and trade links between our two countries is essential as we prepare to exit the European Union.”

THE FULL LIST OF WINNERS:
Larger Business Award – J.C. Bamford Excavators Limited

SME Award – Pavers Limited
Professional Adviser Award – Anuj Chande, Partner and Head of South Asia Group at Grant Thornton LLP
Entrepreneur Award – Rajesh Agrawal, Founder of Rational FX
Arts & Culture Award – Professor Sunil Khilnani, Director at King’s College London India Institute
Special Recognition Award – The Rt Hon David Cameron, Former Prime Minister of the UK

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