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Peter Beckingham

Former governor in Turks and Caicos Islands

Part of UK in India

12th August 2010

Chancellor of the Exchequer and high powered delegation visit Mumbai

Seen from Mumbai the visit by the Prime Minister David Cameron, six Ministers and a large delegation received a great deal of attention in the Indian and British press.  I don’t want to add to the column inches about the visit – the concluding press statements by the two Prime Ministers give a clear summary of the many outcomes – but it might be useful to spell out the work carried out by the Chancellor of the Exchequer and a high powered business delegation during a visit to Mumbai ahead of the Prime Minister’s Delhi programme.

George Osborne at the National Stock Exchange, MumbaiThe Chancellor set out with three aims: to underline our interests in the financial services sector, to discuss opportunities for more UK trade and investment with Indian business, and to support UK companies in the market.  I am in no doubt –as you would expect me to be –that the visit fulfilled all three objectives.

With the heads of some of our largest financial services companies, including Barclays, Standard Chartered, Aviva and Standard Life as well as the LSE and Clifford Chance, the Chancellor had a lively discussion with the Governor of the Reserve Bank and his deputies as well as a separate meeting with the Heads of a number of Indian Banks at the Bombay Stock Exchange.  In all those meetings, as well as in a speech to the Indian Banks’ Association, Mr Osborne spelled out how UK banks and other companies could help the Indian Government’s drive to push for greater access to financial institutions for rural communities across India – “financial inclusion.”

This theme was picked up in separate meetings with a number of India’s most powerful businessmen, including top executives from a range of Tata companies (including Corus and JLR), Mukesh and Anil Ambani, Adi Godrej, and the Essar Group.  Tata underlined their long term commitment to their UK businesses – one of which, Brunner Mond, is in the Chancellor’s Cheshire constituency – and several businessmen stressed the value for UK companies in contributing to the burgeoning, trillion dollar infrastructure investments in India.  This was also a topic of separate, substantial discussions between Ministers and businessmen during the Prime Minister’s visit in Delhi. Our office is now looking at the many opportunities coming on- stream in Western India.

Finally, to meet the third of his aims, the Chancellor went to the launches by three UK companies of new products and services in India.  He spoke to the head of a small village community in North India using the new Vodafone solar-powered phone, launched a  new money – transfer scheme on mobile phones developed by Monetise and, as he left downtown Mumbai, unveiled a mobile ATM system developed by Standard Chartered Bank.

Two of the launches were in the Taj Mahal hotel, next to the huge Gateway to India arch. The Gateway is an evocative reminder of our shared history, while the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s visit to Mumbai is a vivid demonstration of the continuing business links: which the UK delegation aims to increase for the benefit of both countries.

About Peter Beckingham

Peter was the Governor of the Turks and Caicos Islands from 2013 to 2016. Before this, he was British Deputy High Commissioner to India, based in Mumbai, the commercial capital,…

Peter was the Governor of the Turks and Caicos Islands from
2013 to 2016. Before this, he was British Deputy High Commissioner to India, based in Mumbai, the commercial capital, where he had a responsibility for developing UK-India trade and investment. His earlier appointments have
included Consul-General and Director-General of Trade and Investment in
Sydney, and British Ambassador to the Philippines, where he initiated
the UK Government’s involvement in a peace process with the Philippine
Government and Muslim rebel groups.
Peter is married to Jill, a teacher of special needs, and they have
two grown up children. His outside interests include cricket, golf and