India, UK to cooperate in infrastructure, financial services

London, Jan 20 (IANS) India and Britain have agreed to strengthen economic cooperation in infrastructure and financial services at bilateral economic dialogue here.

“From the Indian point of view, we were extremely interested in having the British investors look at infrastructure investments in India for which various possibilities were discussed,” Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who held talks with his UK counterpart George Osborne at the eighth India-UK Economic and Financial Dialogue, told reporters here on Tuesday.

“Britain has been cooperating and also extremely keen that large British companies, particularly involved in infrastructure financing, start investing in Indian infrastructure,” Jaitley said.

“The possibility of their investing, either directly in projects or through the National Investment and Infrastructure Fund that we have created, were both discussed,” he added.

During his visit here, Jaitley held a series of meetings with the UK-based investors and fund managers.

“Given the fact that even in a somewhat difficult global scenario, India is managing a reasonable growth rate, this is one of the better options that investors have and that kind of a sentiment gets really echoed in the meetings with the investors that we had. Of course, the investors are also keenly watching which way our reform process in India goes,” Jaitley said.

“The global economy is facing serious challenges and therefore the estimates of global growth also have been repeatedly lowered. Compared to how various countries across the world have been doing, India’s growth rate despite these challenges is probably the highest in the world among major economies,” he added.

On the listing of rupee bonds in London, the finance minister said: “The UK is very keen for these to be listed in London and broadly the economic and financial dialogue was carried further.”

A joint statement issued at the end of the bilateral talks said the discussions focused on advancing cooperation in a range of sectors, including infrastructure financing, addressing issues of cross-border tax evasion and avoidance, besides opening up of the Indian legal sector to foreign lawyers.

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