#UK/EU, #August 2017

Abhishek Lodha is the Managing Director of the Lodha Group, a Mumbai-headquartered developer which made its global foray with high-profile projects in the UK. ‘India Global Business’ caught up with him to get an update on this international vision, plans for the group’s luxury London developments and the Brexit effect on the property market.


What was the motivation behind the Lodha Group’s expansion to the UK?


We started in London in December 2013, early 2014 and the idea was to establish a business which builds on our success and learnings in India and allows us to operate as an Indian multinational by operating in one of the most competitive, most expensive as well as the highest quality markets in the world.


Over the last three years, we are developing two of London’s most prestigious developments – No. 1 Grosvenor Square, which was the Canadian High Commission and before that the American Embassy, and Lincoln Square, which is just off London School of Economics next to the Royal Courts of Justice. What we are trying to do is truly world-class quality. We have put in a lot of effort and money into the design, into the marketing content, brought in the best names from across the UK as well as internationally.

#June 2017, #India-UK

India’s strong economic fundamentals, low inflation and interest rates on a declining trend are ideal for bond investors, writes a financial markets expert.

London & Partners, the Mayor of London’s official business development company, has long been focusing on attracting inward investments into London, which is arguably the cultural and business capital of the world. This initiative, which started well before Brexit, sought to reinforce London as the gateway between America and Asia. It could become very important for London if it loses access to the Passport to European Financial after the UK exits the European Union (EU).

#Special Edition – May 2017, #2016, #BOOK REVIEW

‘Winning Partnership’ edited by Manoj Ladwa, takes a fresh 360 degree look at a 400-year-old relationship and comes up with several interesting suggestions for keeping it relevant in the 21st century.

What can you say after everything has already been said? Not much, right? Wrong.

With so much literature on UK’s relationship with the former jewel in its crown, it takes a very intrepid intellectual to gather all his bravery to attempt to shed new light on the subject.

#INDIA-UK, #Special Edition – May 2017

‘India Global Business’ analyses UK-India relations and identifies key areas of cooperation that the two countries must build upon and key areas of divergence that they must bridge in order to fulfil the potential of the relationship.

The potential of the relationship is massive, but India and the UK are barely scratching the surface. The optimism that the two countries would sign a trade deal in the immediate aftermath of Brexit and signal closer all round ties has waned considerably but leaders and analysts on both sides remain confident about the future.

#INDIA-UK, #Special Edition – May 2017

Now that Mrs May has triggered formal divorce proceedings with the EU, India Inc. CEO Manoj Ladwa explains how the UK could learn a lesson or two from the Japanese on getting up close to Modi’s India.

The late Sir James Goldsmith, the billionaire financier who spent a considerable part of his personal fortune on a campaign to force Great Britain out of the European Union, once famously said: “When a man marries his mistress, he creates a job vacancy.”

#INDIA-UK, #Special Edition – May 2017

As many as 800 Indian companies in the UK generated £47.5 billion in combined revenues in 2016 and contributed significantly to Brexit-bound UK’s economic growth outlook, a new report reveals.

The ‘India meets Britain Tracker 2017’, released annually by professional services major Grant Thornton in collaboration with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), has found that Indian companies employ around 110,000 employees in the UK and last year had a combined capital expenditure of £4.25 billion.

#Putting it in context, #Special Edition – May 2017

Our cover story this time is aptly titled ‘Yeh Dosti’. Indian readers will be familiar with the eponymous song from the iconic Bollywood blockbuster ‘Sholay’, which, even 42 years after its release, remains synonymous with undying friendship and renewal of relationships.

To dwell a little further on the renewal analogy, here in the UK, we have the custom of spring cleaning, where in anticipation of sunny times, and coming out of the winter months, we clear out the clutter and put our house in order.

The tide of history has brought India and the UK to such a turn in the road. Coincidentally, PM Narendra Modi’s vision of embracing globalisation to expand India’s economy and realise its ambitions of taking its rightful place at the global high table has some resonance with PM Theresa May’s ambition of a post-Brexit “Global Britain”.

There are, or will emerge, vast areas of synergies the two countries can exploit for mutual benefit as well as for the greatest common good of all humanity. Or, in Narendra Modi’s language: “Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas”.

But it will not be a straight and easy road. The challenge is to prevent the relationship from becoming transactional. There will always be the clear and present danger that we may have become too comfortable, and mistakenly assume that cultural affinity and a centuries-old bond will survive the ravages of a rapidly churning world order.

India and the UK need to re-imagine the relationship, re-calibrate the scales by which we judge proximity and warmth and do it fast.

Trade is the obvious area of synergy. India is the third-largest source of FDI into the UK and the UK is the largest G20 investor in India. Despite this, UK trades more with Sweden, which has a GDP that’s just about a fourth of India’s, than with India.

We can obviously do better. And, despite my view that the UK should have remained in the EU, Brexit could just offer that opportunity.

A renewed relationship also means May’s government must show greater empathy for Indian demands for concessions on immigration, as higher education for its youth and free movement of its professionals are key to keeping the wheels of its services-dependent economy greased. At the same time, India must accept the compulsions of Her Majesty’s government to respect the Brexit sentiment, which was, in essence, a vote against untrammelled immigration.

But movement has been slow. For instance, several months ago Britain’s international trade minister, Dr Liam Fox, announced a working group to start pencilling in the contours of a new post-Brexit trade and investment relationship with India. This is a welcome step forward. But we must avoid bureaucratic fudges. Its work must be open, transparent, and allow a wide cross-section of stakeholders to engage in a meaningful manner.

Modi has called the Indian diaspora in the UK the “living bridge” between the two countries and has actively sought to engage them in the process of bilateral cooperation. But does the DTI or British High Commission in India have a strategy for diaspora engagement?

Taking a leaf from Modi’s book, May’s government, too, can reach out to this living bridge – and the ongoing India-UK Year of Culture presents just the right platform.

My fabulous team has made a small beginning by recognising and celebrating the achievements of such people with the India Inc. curated ‘UK India 100’ list of most influential people.

The potential is there for all to see. The tide is right and if May and Modi can take it at the flood, it can lead on to a great future for both countries.

History is replete with examples of individual leaders transcending their situations to lead their countries to ever greater heights. In the UK and India alone, there are examples such as Winston Churchill, Mahatma Gandhi and, potentially, Modi himself.

Can he and May move to the melody of ‘Yeh Dosti’? If they do, they will have re-written the future of UK-India ties in golden letters.

Manoj Ladwa is the founder of India Inc. and chief executive of MLS Chase Group @manojladwa

#April 2017, #Special Edition – May 2017, #Global Indian, #GLOBAL INDIAN

Baroness Usha Prashar straddles the worlds of politics and arts with comfort and ease. ‘India Global Business’ explores what being a Global Indian means to her.

How would you say the India-UK dynamic has evolved over the years?

India and UK have always had a special relationship but like any relationship it has had its ups and downs. In recent years the relationship has matured. India has become important economically and the relationship is beginning to change.

There is now much more reciprocity and a recognition that the relationship has to be based on equal footing. It is gaining a different dynamic. India @ 70 is more confident and its 70th anniversary is being marked by the UK India Year of Culture.

#April 2017, #UK/Europe, #Special Edition – May 2017, #COMMONWEALTH

A London-based policy expert weighs up the challenges and opportunities thrown up by Brexit to strike a stronger India-UK dynamic.

Talk of Brexit is never far from the headlines in the UK press. Theresa May triggering Article 50 signaled the start of the process. This presents significant challenges and opportunities for Commonwealth countries, with India being a prime example.

New research from my organisation, the Royal Commonwealth Society, reveals an overwhelming majority of British businesses want to see the Government prioritise trade deals with the Commonwealth. It is significant that nearly three quarters of all UK businesses want an Indian trade deal.

#April 2017, #UK/Europe

As the number of Indian students coming to study at UK universities continues to register a drop, a new report reveals just what Britain stands to lose.

International students coming to study at UK universities are worth over 25 billion pounds to the British economy, found new research released today.

The latest analysis titled ‘The Economic Impact of International Students’, conducted for representative organisation Universities UK by Oxford Economics, shows that in 2014-15 spending by international students supported 206,600 jobs in university towns and cities across the UK.