Greater Manchester strengthens India trade links

'Virtual' document signing
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Greater Manchester has signed an agreement with India’s state of Maharashtra in a move that will strengthen existing trade and innovation links between the two regions.

The new partnership makes Greater Manchester the first city region in the UK to establish a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the state of Maharashtra, which is home to the city of Mumbai and other major industrial areas.

Led by Greater Manchester’s Manchester India Partnership (MIP) and the Maharashtra State Innovation Society (MSInS), the partnership will support business, skills, low carbon, healthcare and other collaborations over the next five years.

There are also plans to boost the start-up ecosystem by connecting incubators in both regions and supporting access to funding, networks, mentors and infrastructure. This will include a special focus on fintech.

The state already has close ties with Greater Manchester, including Manchester City Group’s acquisition of Mumbai City Football, the Christie hospital’s work with oncology centres in the region, a series of academic collaborations and Manchester Airport also working to secure a direct flight between Manchester and Mumbai.

Renowned for its advanced manufacturing expertise, Greater Manchester’s graphene and advanced materials specialists are set to strengthen links, too, across industries such as engineering, aerospace and automotive.

The relationship between the two regions has grown since the Manchester Mayoral visit to India in 2019. Andy Burnham, the Mayor of Greater Manchester, said: “Greater Manchester’s partnership with the state of Maharashtra will build on the important links our regions have nurtured, whilst supporting the shared challenges and opportunities that affect us and our wider economies and communities. This is an important step for us as a city region – and also supports the strong relationship the UK and India are developing.”

Mumbai is the top source city for Indian FDI projects to the UK and Maharashtra is the most industrialised state in India with important cultural and education roots. Several companies from Maharashtra already have bases in Greater Manchester, including Tech Mahindra, Welspun and L&T Technology Services.

Hon Minister Mr Nawab Malik from the state of Maharashtra, said: “The collaboration between the state of Maharashtra and Greater Manchester is a significant step to further strengthen the ties between the two dynamic regions.

“The state of Maharashtra acknowledges the progress and ongoing developments of Greater Manchester in various fields such as innovation, digitisation, healthcare and zero carbon policy. This two way partnership supported by Manchester India Partnership will work on the core strengths of both the regions and will contribute to each other’s progress benefitting the people at large.”

Jo Ahmed, deputy chair of the Manchester India Partnership, said: “There are close synergies between the two regions – from healthcare and advanced manufacturing sectors, to our thriving start-up and tech communities. It is also an opportunity to strengthen links with our universities and sector specialisms, to help each other develop the skills needed for future innovation.”

Chair of the Manchester India Partnership, Simon Arora, said: “This MoU will enable us to cement and grow the relationship even further and continue to develop a two-way partnership to strengthen the existing economic ties between the two regions.

“We believe there is a real win-win opportunity through closer cooperation between Greater Manchester and the state of Maharashtra, harnessing the respective strengths of both region’s universities and businesses in the creation of solutions to meet future shared challenges. I’m looking forward to leading MIP’s continued success and supporting the development of this MoU to ensure that it leads to tangible outcomes for both sides.”

Mr Alan Gemmell, Her Majesty’s trade commissioner for South Asia and British Deputy High Commissioner for Western India, said: “Mumbai and Greater Manchester have a long standing partnership. This new agreement will help improve educational, investment, trade and sporting links between Greater Manchester and Maharashtra. We look forward to welcoming the Mayor of Greater Manchester here in the future.”

The official signing of the partnership took place this week between the Mayor of Greater Manchester and the Minister for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship from the state of Maharashtra during a virtual event.