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Manchester India Partnership launches refreshed strategy to strengthen cultural ties Strategy launch attended by Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham and B&M founder Simon Arora

The Manchester India Partnership (MIP) has launched a refreshed strategy to harness the power of its high-level networks in the UK and India. The strategy is guided by the UK India 2030 roadmap and has re-aligned itself with the updated Greater Manchester (GM) Industrial Strategy.

MIP was established in February 2018 by the Greater Manchester Local Enterprise Partnership, MIDAS – Manchester’s Inward Investment Agency and Deloitte to unite private businesses, academia and the public sector across India and Greater Manchester to build and strengthen trade, investment, cultural, and educational ties.

Over the years, it has developed into a soft power centre, which leverages the cultural and people connections to inculcate a spirit of collaboration between GM and India, thereby delivering opportunities for business and mutual prosperity.

In the wake of the pandemic and through challenges presented by the climate crisis, the UK and India have strengthened their partnership to seek solutions for issues presented in recent times, both showing strong resilience and clear opportunities for collaboration.

Greater Manchester’s Local Industrial Strategy provides the focus for this activity, engaging India in GM’s key areas of strengths that align with India’s growth sectors. These include Digital and Technology, Low Carbon, Advanced Manufacturing and Health Innovation.

Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham said: “The Manchester India Partnership has played a key role in developing and expanding connections between our city-region and India over the last few years. This renewed strategy will set out how that relationship can be strengthened in the future, based around our long-term ambitions for trade, investment, and innovation.

“Our city-region is home to more than 55,000 people from the Indian diaspora, and what this strategy also does is acknowledge the importance and the value of those cultural links that enrich and enliven our communities, and how they too can be a source of shared prosperity.”

Shehla Hasan, Executive Director Manchester India Partnership said, “Over 1,000 businesses in the Northwest exported over £310 million worth of goods to India in 2019 and in the financial year 2021-2022, India became the fastest growing economy in the world. Our aim is for Greater Manchester to be recognised as the strongest UK region as a partner for this sustained growth.”

The strategy focuses on five key pillars that accurately mirrors GM’s priorities for the future:

Raising the profile of Greater Manchester in India
Accelerating educational, innovation and entrepreneurship links between GM and India
Promoting culture, sports and tourism collaborations
Enhanced trade and investment
Increase in visitor numbers to the city region from India
To achieve these ambitions MIP will proactively engage partner organisations such as the Department for International Trade, the Confederation of Indian Industry, the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry, MIDAS, Marketing Manchester and Visit Britain.

The Manchester India Business Group launched this year by MIP, a networking club to promote the Manchester-India commercial and cultural relationship will also be an important platform for businesses and people from both regions to meet, exchange experiences and listen to informative and influential speakers including senior government officials, politicians, business leaders, editors, and culture curators.

Simon Arora, MIP Chair and CEO B&M Stores said, “India and the Greater Manchester region are key partners in each other’s future prosperity and sustainability. As we expect the announcement of the UK India Free Trade Agreement around Diwali next month, this is an opportune time to launch MIP’s refreshed strategy and action plan till 2030. We are enthused and excited to work to strengthen this relationship further.’

Jo Ahmed, MIP Deputy Chair and Partner at Deloitte said “2022 will be a pivotal moment in the UK-India relationship as the prospect of a Free Trade Agreement draws closer. As a priority international market for Greater Manchester with a burgeoning visitor economy and an Indian student economy that has almost tripled between 2018 and 2021, the refreshed Manchester India Partnership strategy will benefit multiple sectors and provide the platform for the next exciting phase of collaboration between Greater Manchester and India.’

2022 will be a pivotal moment in the UK-India relationship as negotiations for a Free Trade Agreement draw closer. As a priority FDI market for the Greater Manchester region, a burgeoning visitor economy and a student economy that has almost tripled between 2018 and 2021, the refreshed strategy will benefit not only the city-region but the North-West and the UK.

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