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Last update: October 2011



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Basic Economic Facts


$4.046 trillion (2010 est.)


GDP per head:

$3,400 (2010 est.)


Annual Growth:

8.3% (2010 est.)



11.7% (2010 est.)


Major Industries:

Textiles, chemicals, food processing, steel, transportation equipment, cement, mining, petroleum, machinery, software, gems and jewellery, leather manufactures.


Major trading partners:

Export: $201 billion (2010 est.) UAE 12.87%, US 12.59%, China 5.59% (2009). The principal commodities of export include petroleum products, oil meal, gem and jewellery, electronic goods, cotton yarn/readymade garments, cotton, machinery & instruments, primary/semi-finished iron & steel, transport equipment, marine products, drugs/pharmaceuticals, inorganic/organic/ agro chemicals, dyes/intermediates etc.

Import: $327 billion (2010 est.) China 10.94%, US 7.16%, Saudi Arabia 5.36%, UAE 5.18%, Australia 5.02%, Germany 4.86%, Singapore 4.02% (2009). The major commodities imported from this region are coal/coke/briquettes, gold, vegetable oils, electronic goods, organic chemicals, machinery except electrical machinery, professional instruments, wood and wood products, non-ferrous metals, metalifers ores and metal scrap, raw wool etc.Trade Promotion Activities

India has one of the fastest growing economies in the world. The Indian market provides opportunities for UK companies goods and services. India is the UK's 15th largest export market. In 2010, UK/India bilateral trade was worth around 13.8 billion. The volume of bilateral trade in goods between India and the UK in 2004 was 4.5 billion. UK Trade & Investment business plan for India has identified 16 proactive sectors where we believe there are real opportunities for UK companies to increase their profitability and international competitiveness. These sectors are:

  • Aerospace (Civil)
  • Automotive
  • Agri-business (incl. Food & Drink)
  • Biotechnology & Pharmaceuticals
  • Construction (incl. Sports & Leisure Infrastructure)
  • Creative & Media
  • Education, Skills & Leisure
  • Engineering (incl. Mining, Metals & Metallurgical Process Industries)
  • Environment
  • Financial & Legal Services
  • Healthcare & Medical
  • ICT - Software/Computer Services & Residual Electronics and Communications
  • Oil & Gas (incl. Petro & Non-petrochemicals)
  • Power
  • Transport (incl. Airports, Ports, Railways and Security)
  • Water

Opportunities also exist in a number of other up and coming sectors. 'source UKTI'

Source: Indian Ministry of Commerce and Industry - Department of Commerce 

India's Relations with the UK

Bilateral relations have steadily strengthened over the last two or three years and are now at their healthiest for a very long time (if not ever). This is reflected in a number of areas, including closeness on current international issues; bilateral trade (13.8 billion in 2010); increased education links, and increasing of UK development assistance over the next two years (to 300 million).

The Prime Minister's highly successful visit in September 2010 served to underline the strength and vitality of the relationship and boost the image of modern Britain. There has been a good stream of Ministerial visits in both directions since then and this trend is continuing.

The 'New Delhi Declaration', formally endorsed by the two Prime Ministers in January 2002, provides the new road-map for bilateral activity. The Declaration commits the UK and India to continuing to work closely in four areas:

  • Peace and Security: terrorism, peacekeeping, defence cooperation, non-proliferation; Afghanistan;
  • Development: working together to meet Millennium Development Goals including halving the proportion of people in poverty by 2015; UK development assistance to increase to 300 million by 2007/8; working together on climate change and in the run-up to the World Summit on Sustainable Development;
  • Education and Science and Technology: the declaration noted the contribution of 1.3 million strong community of Indian origin in Britain, an increase in Chevening scholarships to 2 million, and the British Council's new Knowledge and Learning Centre in Delhi (which allows people to get UK qualifications online);
  • Trade and Investment: The UK is India's largest trading partner in Europe and one of the largest in the world; more than 440 Indian firms have now set up operations in the UK, of which 75% are from the Information and Communications Technology; the UK and India are committed to working together on WTO issues.

The UK-India Round Table was launched by Robin Cook and Jaswant Singh, the then Indian Foreign Minister, during the former's visit to India in April 2000. The Round Table brings together senior UK and Indian opinion-formers to work up practical suggestions for enhancing bilateral activity and cooperation on global issues. The Round Table had its eighth meeting in Yorkshire, in the UK, in February 2005.


United Nations Security Council

The UK has expressed publicly its support for a permanent seat on the UN Security Council for India, and has said that it will work together with India to achieve this.


UK Development Assistance

There has been growth and progress in India over the last 20 years, but 350 million people are still poor, many without access to basic services. Globally, the Millennium Development Goals will be won or lost in India. The income poverty MDG is likely to be met, but other MDGs are off-track, including key targets in health and education.

The challenge is to address persistent and widespread poverty, including the needs of the poorest and marginalised, in a way that takes account of India's growing global role and aspirations. DFID India has nationwide programmes through the central government, and programmes in four of the poorest states (Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa and West Bengal). DFID is scaling-up resources for off-track MDGs, including health and education, and working to increase its impact in poorly performing states. Total bilateral expenditure in 2005/6 will be 265m, rising to 300m in 2007/8. DFID India has 130 staff on five sites.


Trade and Investment with the UK

Two-way trade of goods and services between India and the UK has doubled since 1993; Over 2447 new Indo-British joint ventures have been approved by the Government of India since Aug 1991. For the period August 1991 to July 2006, the number of technical collaborations approved from UK stands at 851, which is 10.89% of the total technology transfer approvals.

Total two-way trade (goods and services) grew by about 20% in 2005 (to 7.9 bn). UK exports to India grew by 21.3% in 2005 (goods up by 25.3%; services up by 12.3%).

The UK is India's fifth largest trading partner after the USA (10.63%), China (6.99%), United Arab Emirates (5.13%) and Germany (3.81%), and accounted for 3.56% of India's total foreign trade in goods in FY2005/06.

Major items of trade in goods included - UK exports to India: non-metallic minerals, gold, power generating and telecom equipment, transport equipment and industrial machinery. UK's imports from India: textiles and readymade garments, gems and jewellery, footwear, metal manufactures, power generating equipment, organic chemicals and vegetables and fruit.

UK has the third largest share of new investment approved since 1991 till March 2006 (10.04 %), well ahead of Germany (3.78%), Japan (4.67%) and France (2.59%).

UK has the fifth largest share of new investments implemented since 1991 till October 2006 (5.43% cumulative share), behind Mauritius (41.09%) USA (13.94%), Japan (5.6%) and Netherlands (6.24%). In addition, there is also significantly high reinvestment by UK companies already established in India, which is not included in the new investment figures.

Indian investments into the UK increased by a staggering 110% in 2005-06 recording a total of 76 investment projects from India creating 1449 jobs. IT sector dominated with 26 projects followed by pharmaceuticals (12 projects). India now ranks third among foreign investors in the UK globally (with an investment of 1.02 bn) and the second largest from Asia Pacific region behind only the USA and Japan.


Cultural Relations with the UK

The British Council's India operation is one of its largest in the world, with offices in the 4 metro cities and British Libraries in 7 other cities, the latter managed in co-operation with the Indian Council for Cultural Relations. The Council's main activities involve offering library services to 112,000 private and 4,000 corporate members, marketing UK education, administering 80,000 UK examinations per year, and running a varied programme of projects in governance and human rights, science and technology, the arts and English language teaching and teacher training. In recent years, the British Council has also introduced an on-line service to reach a wider audience of young Indians.

The Indian community overall in the UK now numbers 1.3 million and is the most prosperous of the major ethnic communities in the country. They are influential, innovative and successful in business, politics and the arts: a major part of the UK's economy and culture.



Entry Clearance

Entry Clearance: Over 360,000 visas were issued in 2006. This is more than twice the amount of any other country. Over 500,000 Indians visit the UK each year and in 2006 nearly 20,000 student visas were issued. Student numbers continue to rise. The number of IT professionals seeking entry or placement in the UK also remains high.


Human Rights

India has a robust parliamentary tradition, an independent judiciary, professional and apolitical armed forces, a vibrant civil society, and free and outspoken media. India has signed and ratified all of the major International Treaties and Covenants on Human Rights except the Convention Against Torture, which it has signed only.

There has been progress in a number of areas but implementation varies from state to state and awareness of human rights issues is inconsistent. As a result, the rights of women, children, minorities, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes often suffer. The socially and economically disadvantaged sections are particularly vulnerable.


India's Special Economic Zones:

New laws and regulations on Special Economic Zones (SEZs) are taking effect this year. Emphasis on revitalising SEZs after an unspectacular start, during which the opportunity to experiment by adopting more flexible labour policies and road-test other reform measures in SEZs was not taken. Political backing and administrative support, particularly from State Governments, will be key determinants of success.

For more information on the special economic zones in India, please look at the following link below:



 Last update: October 2011

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