George Osborne meeting with Indian Prime Minister today

George Osborne In Thought

Chancellor George Osborne and Foreign Secretary William Hague are set to meet with controversial Indian Prime Minister to discuss potential business.

This is the first visit to India since the election of Narendra Modi and Osborne has been quick to praise the controversial new Prime Minister for bringing a sense of change to the country. Osborne said Modi has "this enormous mandate for change. In his election he appeals precisely to that young aspirational Indian who wanted to see more economic development in their country and get away from the subsidy culture which had bedevilled a lot of Indian politics."

Following a boycott, the UK re-established relations with Modi in 2012 after the former chief minister of Gujarat was cleared of allowing and encouraging riots that killed over 1,000 people.

The purpose of this trip is to ensure relations between the two nations are strong, irrespective of what has occurred in the past (particularly the boycott) and charm the new elected leader in an attempt to boost British trade and business.

Potential for British Investment is huge as Modi has guaranteed a huge construction boom, promising to build cities, roads, and railways, providing huge scope for British firms to capitalise on the industrialisation process. These contracts have been up for grabs for a while and French, Chinese and Russian ministers have already visited in an attempt to snap them up.

Osborne has been open in his desire to win these contracts and has said that Britain and India "can do lots of good business together” and that “good days are coming".

Similarly, investment has also come the other way and Osborne has already announced that car company Mahindra is investing £20m in an electric vehicles project at Farnham and Donington. And Indian pharmaceutical company Cipla is to invest £100m in the UK.

Osborne has also been vocal about Britain’s wish to increase military exports to the country.

When questioned by the BBC about why Britain was selling India weapons, the Chancellor replied with “India has real security issues. It has got some very difficult neighbours.” Potentially causing diplomatic tensions between Britain and the eight countries that border India.

Today’s meeting with Modi could be crucial in determining the future of the Indo-British relationship. The investment opportunities are unparalleled and Britain missing out on these opportunities would be disastrous.

Hague and Osborne have a big task ahead of them, so lets hope that Osborne’s charm is effective.