High Commisioner Endorses Innovative Campaign Between Invest NI and India

Sir Michael Arthur, the UK High Commissioner to India, was the keynote speaker at a special event in Belfast yesterday to launch 'Opportunity India', an innovative Invest Northern Ireland campaign to strengthen business relationships with India

Among the events already planned by Invest NI to highlight trade opportunities with India and to promote Northern Ireland as the best European location for India’s fast developing technology sector are:

• a seminar in Belfast by Manpreet Vohra, commercial counsellor at the Indian High Commission in London, and Manoj Ladwa, representing the influential Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, on 1 July;

• a trade mission to India (30 October – 5 November), which will be based in Mumbai;

• a stand for Northern Ireland companies at IT.Com (1-5 November) in Bangalore, India’s main technology centre; and

• an Invest NI stand at NASSCOM in Mumbai (1-3 February 2005), the premier event for the Indian IT industry.

Sir Michael, commenting on the Invest NI campaign, said: “There are vast opportunities for Northern Ireland companies in India across a broad range of business sectors. It is the world’s fourth largest emerging economy and the second most populous country.

“Invest NI’s focus on India, I am confident, will enable Northern Ireland companies to explore a marketplace that is being shaped by the strength of India’s fast growing IT sector and also by the Indian Government’s drive to improve its infrastructure by investing extensively on roads, airports, ports, transportation and telecommunications,” he added.

Launching ‘Opportunity India’, Leslie Ross, Invest NI Managing Director, said: “This campaign draws together our trade and investment teams to build a strong business relationship with industry in one of the world’s fastest growing markets.

“It will build on the achievements of a series of trade and technology missions by Invest NI to India over the past two years and will also embrace the work of the University of Ulster and Queen’s University, Belfast in fostering links with Indian universities.

“In addition to the important trade links which this campaign will seek to strengthen, several Northern Ireland IT companies are already working closely with Indian technology businesses to enhance their competitiveness in the US and Europe. We see a substantial opportunity to harness the growing interest among Indian IT companies in accessing the newly enlarged European marketplace,” he added.

Welcoming the new Invest NI campaign, Lord Rana said: “From my regular visits and ongoing contacts with business people there I know that there is an enormous opportunity for Northern Ireland to develop a mutually beneficial partnership with India.

“I am convinced that this is a ‘win-win’ opportunity for business in both countries in terms of both trade and investment. I commend Invest NI on its vision and willingness to deploy the necessary financial and physical resources to make it happen.”

Lord Rana led two Invest NI trade missions to India and also facilitated a recent visit there by a major delegation from the University of Ulster.