India, UK to cooperate in infra financing, check tax evasion

arun-jaitley-generalLONDON: India and the UK have agreed to strengthen their economic cooperation in infrastructure and financial services as they vowed to address cross-border tax evasion and avoidance.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who held talks with his UK counterpart George Osborne as part of the 8th India-UK Economic and Financial Dialogue and had a series of meetings with UK-based investors and fund managers, yesterday said that his visit here had carried the economic and financial dialogue with Britain forward.

After talks between Jaitley and Osborne, a joint statement was issued that talked about advancement of cooperation in a range of sectors including infrastructure financing, addressing issues of cross-border tax evasion and avoidance besides opening up of the Indian legal sector to foreign lawyers.

“From the Indian point of view, we were extremely interested in having the British investors look at infrastructure investments in India for which various possibilities were discussed. Britain has been cooperating and also extremely keen that large British companies, particularly involved in infrastructure financing, start investing in Indian infrastructure,” Jaitley said.

“The possibility of their investing, either directly in projects or through the National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) that we have created, were both discussed,” he told reporters at the Indian High Commission here.

During the talks, which included senior representatives from Finance Ministries, Central Banks and key regulators of both countries, the two leaders discussed ways to strengthen the Indo-UK existing economic partnership in order to further boost trade and investment, and to build on the success of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent summit with his British counterpart David Cameron in the UK.

“Given the fact that even in a somewhat difficult global scenario, India is managing a reasonable growth rate, this is one of the better options that investors have and that kind of a sentiment gets really echoed in the meetings with the investors that we had. Of course, the investors are also keenly watching which way our reform process in India goes,” Jaitley said.

“The global economy is facing serious challenges and therefore the estimates of global growth also have been repeatedly lowered. Compared to how various countries across the world have been doing, India’s growth rate despite these challenges is probably the highest in the world among major economies,” he said, in reference to his meetings with investors at Goldman Sachs and London Stock Exchange.

As a follow up on Prime Minister Modi’s announcement during his UK visit last November on the listing of Rupee bonds in London, the Minister said, “the UK is very keen for these to be listed in London and broadly the economic and financial dialogue was carried further”. -PTI

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