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West Bengal Chief Minister gets warm reception in London

15Ansar Ahmed Ullah ::

The Chief Minister of West Bengal Mamata Banerjee, who is on a five day visit, was given a business reception in London on Monday 27 July at the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office following a bilateral meeting.

Work and Pensions Minister Priti Patel, British Prime Minister’s Indian Diaspora Champion met with the Chief Minister of West Bengal to discuss important relationship between the UK and West Bengal and how this partnership can be strengthened further, recalling the Prime Minister’s meeting with the Chief Minister in Kolkata two years ago.

Welcoming the Chief Minister of West Bengal to London Priti Patel said that this was a landmark visit. This visit brings greater strength to existing friendships, provides an opportunity to build new ones and brings greater focus on doing business to drive prosperity in both countries.

Although the connections between the UK and West Bengal were historic, there were few opportunities to renew and revitalise them for future generations. Priti Patel said, ‘Under Mamata Banerjee’s leadership the state is enjoying a renaissance and its potential is beginning to be realised. That is why the UK Prime Minister visited Kolkata two years ago. He wanted to meet the Chief Minister and hear from her personally about the ambitious agenda she was pursuing. He wanted to learn how she had increased the efficiency and effectiveness of the state administration.’

The British Prime Minister was impressed at what he saw and had invited the Chief Minister to London. A large number of British businesses who were at the reception have found new opportunities to a growing market in West Bengal. Others have chosen Kolkata as the base for their India operations.

At the same time Kolkata based businesses have increased investments in the UK. Investors from West Bengal are ingrained upon British society, whether in traditional or more innovative sectors.  Big brand names such as Apeejay Group, who own Typhoo Tea, and Tata Tea, who own Tetley Tea, help thousands of Brits to enjoy a cuppa daily. ITC Infotech was amongst first Indian IT companies opening up an office in the UK and helping to provide Brits with IT solutions fit for the 21st century.

In addition twenty one Memoranda of Understanding were signed signalling more exciting new collaborations for the future. These MoUs will help bring the UK and West Bengal closer and unleash the potential of a better relationship.

Since the British Prime Minister David Cameron’s visit to Kolkata a £1million technical assistance programme has been developed in which British experts are helping Kolkata ensure its future is both low carbon and climate resilient.

Priti Patel concluded, ‘This is an important time in the UK-India relationship.  We want a stronger, wider, deeper partnership with India.  The UK is a major partner of India – and we are excited about its development, its dynamism, its potential and its renewed growth trajectory.’