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Birmingham Chamber of Commerce and Industry

December 15, 2007


India-UK Joint Economic and Trade Committee Meeting

The Fourth India-U.K. Joint Economic and Trade Committee meeting was held at Somerset House in London on December 13. There was a closed-door meeting between Kamal Nath, Minister of Commerce and Industry of India and Rt. Hon. John Hutton, Secretary of State for Business Enterprises and Regulatory Reform, followed by a plenary meeting chaired by Andrew Cahn, Chief Executive of U.K. Trade & Investment.

During the bilateral meeting, the two sides reviewed the progress in bilateral economic and commercial relations and ways of taking the relationship forward by removing barriers and encouraging partnerships.

The Minister also discussed preparations for Prime Minister Gordon Brown's proposed visit to India in January 2008, the current status of the WTO Doha Development Round Table negotiations, and the India-U.K. Free Trade Agreement which is currently under negotiation.

Minister Nath, Secretary Hutton, Chairman of the Indo-U.K. Business Council Lord Karan Bilimoria, Co-Chair of the Indo-British Partnership on the Indian side Feroze Vanderwala, and Vice-Chair of the Indo-British Partnership Rana Kapur addressed the plenary session. The issues taken up by the Indian side included new work permit regulations for professionals in the IT sector, U.K.'s Highly Skilled Migrant Programme, the regulatory mechanism for registration of practitioners of Ayurveda medicine, improved market access for Indian companies in the area of government procurement, mutual recognition and accreditation of laboratories for food testing, social security agreement for IT professionals, need for improved port facilities in the U.K. to facilitate India's exports and denial of export licences by Britain for dual use technology.

The U.K. side took up the issues of protection of intellectual property rights (IPRs) and problems of Britain's energy companies in India.

Six JETCO Group joint chairs were invited to report back to the ministers on the progress made in their respective areas and plans for future deliverables.

Continued on page 2


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Global launch of Kamal Nath's book India's Century?

India's Minister of Commerce and Industry, Kamal Nath, called on the new generation of Indian entrepreneurs to go global and look for synergies and integrations arising out of developments in the international trade and business environment. Speaking at a gathering of senior media critics and journalists at the global launch of his book, 'India's Century: The Age of Entrepreneurship in the World's Biggest Democracy', in London on December 13, Nath explained that the book's central theme was India's emergence from the backwaters of global economy to its frontline, generating aspirations for the future based on the recent outstanding achievements.

The function was attended by cabinet ministers of the British Government, CEOs of U.K.-based MNCs and a large section of the Indian diaspora in London.

Pointing to the current uncertainties in the global economy, Nath urged the Indian entrepreneurs to stay globally competitive, as this was possibly the only way to carry the business forward. Not only was the lifespan of new and emerging technologies considerably changing - with what was new today becoming outdated tomorrow - but consumer preferences and consumption patterns were also short-lived.

In the changing milieu, it was imperative, the Minister observed, that the Indian entrepreneurs not only came up with globally competitive technological improvements in their product profiles but ensured globally competitive business practices to be perpetually alive to new opportunities for growth and partnerships.

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Peace crusader remembered at Belfast exhibition

The contribution of India's Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi, to peace, and respect for diversity was marked at a special exhibition inaugurated in Belfast by Kamalesh Sharma, High Commissioner for India to the U.K. and the new Commonwealth Secretary-General elect.

Sharma was also the keynote speaker at a gala dinner to mark the 60th anniversary of India's Independence organised by Lord Diljit Rana, Honorary Consul for India in Northern Ireland. One hundred and fifty local politicians including Sir Reg Empey, Minister for Education and Learning in Northern Ireland, business people and community leaders attended the gala.

The Gandhi Exhibition was on display at the Omni Centre in the Ramada Belfast Hotel, Shaw's Bridge. The exhibition has already been showcased in Britain and parts of Europe, as part of initiatives by the Government of India to mark the country's Independence in 1947. It exhibition was held in Belfast until the New Year.

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Airtel is best brand

Bharti Airtel, India's largest mobile service operator, has been adjudged the best brand and best mobile operator by the World Communication Awards 2007.

The awards were announced on November 28 in London. In the Best Mobile Operator category, the other global operators in the final shortlist were Orange, T-Mobile (U.K.) and Telstra. Altogether there were more than 200 entries for the awards. Bharti Airtel, part of the Bharti Group, operates in all 23 telecom circles in the country with a current customer base of 53 million. The World Communication Awards, instituted in 1999 by Total Telecom, seek to recognise and award excellence among communication providers across the globe.



Bangalore is India's nano hub

Having triggered the growth of IT and biotechnology, Bangalore, the silicon city of India is set to spearhead development of nanoscience and nanotechnology in the country. Inaugurating "Bangalore Nano 2007" on December 6, Karnataka Governor Rameshwar Thakur said the State Government was collaborating with Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research to foster nanoscience and nanotechnology, leveraging the State's rich talent pool and science and technology resources. "The state has taken a lead in exploring priority areas of nanoscientific research and technology. A modest beginning was made last year and in the current fiscal, budgetary support has been made to promote nano-technology," Thakur said.



India to have four nuke plants

The government has approved four sites to set up nuclear power plants, Prithiviraj Chavan, Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office, said in the Rajya Sabha on November 29. The sites are located at Kudankulam in Tamil Nadu, Jaitapur in Maharashtra, Kakrapar in Gujarat, and Rawatbhata in Rajasthan, the Minister said. The Kudankulam and Jaitpur plants will produce 2,000 MW of energy by using imported light water reactor technology. The other two plants will generate 1,400 MW of energy by using pressurised heavy water reactors of Indian manufacture, Chavan added.



IBM brings fastest chip to India

IT and ITES major IBM has launched the world's fastest computer processor chip called the dual-core POWER6 in India. With this launch, the System p570, as per the company's claim is the world's most powerful midrange consolidation machine, and BladeCenter JS22 servers, both powered by this new chip, would be available in the country, said IBM India and South Asia director, Systems and Technology Group, Shashi B. Mal. The POWER6 features virtualisation capabilities - a means of server consolidation - and is also the latest addition to IBM's Project Big Green initiative.

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