Financial services sector holds an “exciting” prospect of closer exchange between India and the United Kingdom with a free trade agreement being negotiated between the two countries, British Chancellor Rishi Sunak said.
In an interaction with reporters ahead of India Global Forum’s UK-India Awards on Friday, the senior British Indian cabinet minister said he sees enormous opportunity for both countries in areas such as fintech and welcomed the opening up of the Indian insurance market.
The minister also expressed his confidence over the Diwali timeframe for an India-UK FTA draft to be ready.
“There’s good progress being made and I think one of the exciting things for me in my role is financial services,” he told PTI.
“Financial service is an area where there’s an enormous opportunity for both of our countries. India’s goal is to spread insurance across the entire economy because insurance is a great thing for enabling protection for individuals and growth,” Sunak said. “We can help with that in the UK because we have a fantastic insurance industry. And bit by bit we’ve been able to provide more of those products, services and expertise to Indian firms and citizens and companies.”
He also referred to India’s plans for a sovereign green bond and the UK having gone through that journey would want to help India raise that capital.
“It builds on a tradition of us helping provide capital to India from across the world because one of the defining movements of capital of our time will be the flow of capital from the west into fast growing India,” Sunak said. “That’s an incredibly exciting and significant event. And the UK can really help be the place which allows India the access to the biggest pool of capital on the best possible terms to drive its growth.”
In the interaction with Indian Journalists’ Association, Sunak said he is “very supportive of India playing an increasingly influential role in the region, and indeed, in the world” as a massive economy and the world’s largest democracy.
A India-UK FTA would prove a greater champion of that cause, he said.