Economy Minister Nigel Dodds officially announced the opening of Invest Northern Ireland's first trade and investment office in India.
The opening of the new office highlights the Northern Ireland Executive's commitment to establishing closer links with India. It will be located within the British Deputy High Commission at Nariman Point in Mumbai, India's financial capital.
Mr Dodds said: “The decision to set up a base in India is further recognition of India as a significant global economic player. We can use this base to develop existing partnerships with Indian companies that increasingly bring wealth and employment to Belfast, Londonderry, Armagh and Lisburn.
“Northern Ireland businesses across many sectors, including software, engineering, construction, textiles and life sciences, are also creating jobs for Indian workers in centres such as Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Hyderabad and Cochin.
“Northern Ireland now has a greater business engagement in India than in many other global markets. It’s a mutually beneficial link that I am very keen to encourage at both governmental and business levels.”
The Minister continued: “The office in Mumbai will provide a strategic bridge between India and Northern Ireland, raising the region’s profile, pinpointing potential inward investors, encouraging trade links and working with the universities, particularly in technology transfer.
“It will carry forward the excellent work already undertaken by Invest NI in India over the past five years. Many of our companies, including smaller enterprises, have gained a foothold in this market by means of Invest NI’s trade missions and presence at major exhibitions. The enthusiasm which the agency has shown towards the Indian marketplace, and in making contacts with business leaders and organisations, has also helped to highlight investment opportunities in Northern Ireland.”
Mr Dodds concluded: “During this visit I’ve had an opportunity to see at first hand why many of our companies now regard India as their most important source of business. There is a real opportunity here to learn, from senior Indian executives and politicians, to help our private sector achieve faster growth through entrepreneurship, innovation and exports.”
The Mumbai office is being managed by Barry Clarke, from Newtownards, a senior Invest NI officer who has been involved in trade development and education contacts with India over the past decade.
The new base in India is part of Invest NI’s network of investment and trade offices overseas that includes developing markets such as China and established markets in the US, and Europe. As well as investment and trade offices Invest NI has technology development centres for use by Northern Ireland companies in the US and United Arab Emirates.