Focus will be to build new business and trade links in both counties
Sadiq Khan will become the first Mayor of London to lead a trade mission to both India and Pakistan when he travels to six cities in six days across both countries next week.
The focus of the Mayor’s visit to the subcontinent will be to build new business and trade links in both counties, and make connections across their cultural and creative industries. In India the Mayor will visit Mumbai, Delhi and Amritsar, and in Pakistan he will head to Lahore, Islamabad and Karachi.
Senior politicians, business leaders and regional governors from both countries are set to meet the Mayor across a series of high-profile events and meetings during his six-day mission. Sadiq will press home the main message of his ‘London Is Open’ campaign – that, despite the EU referendum result, London remains the best place in the world to study, do business and visit.
The Mayor will remind everyone he meets that London is still the world’s number-one location for investment, talent and ideas, and he will say that people from all over the world remain welcome to work, study or visit his city.
Sadiq will be accompanied by his Deputy Mayor for Business, Rajesh Agrawal, and a packed itinerary in both countries will include discussions on business and investment, infrastructure and the environment as well as visas and opportunities to work together more closely.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “I want to strengthen the links that exist between London and the great cities of India and Pakistan. I know there is a huge amount we can learn from each other and that there is scope for even greater collaboration. I’m passionate about deepening the relationship we have across a wide range of areas – from trade and business to tourism, technology, education, sport, culture and the arts.
“I will also remind everyone I meet that London will always be a city full of opportunity and one that embraces people of different, nationalities, faiths and backgrounds. And that as the Mayor of London I am doing everything within my power to make London as warm, welcoming and accessible to Indian and Pakistani students, business people and entrepreneurs as possible.”
In India Sadiq is expected to meet with senior politicians and he has lined up meetings with representatives of the tech, education and sports sectors. In Mumbai, the Mayor will meet leading figures from the city’s phenomenally successful Bollywood film industry.
Representatives from companies that are part of the Mayor’s International Business Programme will also accompany the Mayor to Mumbai before they head onto Bengaluru where they will bid to boost their bottom line by partnering with Indian tech experts.
Between 2005 and 2016, the UK was the second largest destination for Indian investment and 44 per cent of the fastest growing Indian companies now have a base in London. And in 2017, the UK and India have been celebrating a bilateral year of cultural exchange. A major programme of cultural events and activities in India have been organised by the British Council, and a similar programme in the UK organised by the Government of India.
In Pakistan the Mayor will meet senior politicians as well key figures from the Pakistani cultural and financial sectors. Bilateral trade between the UK and Pakistan is valued at £2.5bn and only two cities in the world provide more investment in Pakistan than London. The Mayor will be accompanied to Pakistan by senior business executives from the capital who are looking for trade deals or investment opportunities.
To mark the 70th Independence Anniversary of Pakistan, the Pakistan High Commission in London have commissioned ‘Emerging Pakistan’, a year-long campaign that showcases Pakistani culture, its landscape and people. And, with a national population of 207 million and a fast-growing middle class, more than 100 British businesses are now doing business in Pakistan to make the most of the massive opportunities there.
The purpose of the Mayor’s visit is to forge even closer ties to the Pakistani business community and he will particularly focus on meeting the young, up-and-coming generation who will play a key role in the ongoing development of the country.