Indian business leaders have pledged to return to Birmingham on an annual basis following a highly successful visit to the city.
Representatives from the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) have said they are eager to build business relations and support trade and investment between the West Midlands and the sub-continent.
The CII works closely with the Indian government and industry on policy issues, enhancing efficiency, competitiveness and expanding business opportunities for industry.
The CII delegation was in Birmingham to meet local business representatives at the International Convention Centre to discuss economic growth opportunities between Birmingham and India, focussing on the fields of manufacturing and service industries.
During last month’s visit, the CII also concluded an agreement with international research cluster Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG) to cooperate on projects involving climate change, high-tech manufacturing and global healthcare.
The CII had already been working with WMG on training issues and its aim now is to progress the partnership by sourcing new opportunities for research and development.
CII director general Chandrajit Banerjee, said: “Indian industries now have a major focus on innovation in order to become path-breakers in their respective fields.”
The trip also coincided with the completion by Tata Motors of its £1.15 billion acquisition of Jaguar Land Rover from Ford.
Birmingham City Council leader Mike Whitby, who hosted the delegation, said he was pleased with the way the talks had gone and welcomed the pledge by the CII to return to the city and continue developing relations.
He also announced that the local authority would be adding to its global business support strategy by creating a new India desk in addition to its existing Chinese liaison officer.
“Birmingham’s strong links with India play a central role in the global strategy for the development of the city,” said Coun Whitby.
“To take this relationship forward we will be creating a dedicated India desk to cement relations both with the CII and business generally.
‘‘I am also committed to going to India myself to further develop our blossoming business links,” he said.
The council is keen to develop its relationship with the CII as the Birmingham visit is the first time the body has agreed to locate its chief executive conference outside London. Coun Whitby said he was also pleased that the CII had agreed to stage a series of annual meetings in Birmingham.
“As a city with greater global ambitions, we are very much looking forward to developing the relationship between India and Birmingham, and this will provide a real boost in forging even stronger links, especially within the automotive supply chain, manufacturing and the service industries,” he said.
Coun Whitby said the city already had strong ties with India and these would be an asset when looking to build on the relationship.
Notable Indian businesses to locate a working operation in Birmingham in the past year include ICICI, India’s largest private bank, and the State Bank of India.