New Delhi, Aug. 13 : U.K. Secretary of State for International Development Priti Patel, who is on a three-day visit to India, on Saturday said after passing the Goods and Services Tax (GST) bill, India has become a more attractive investment destination as doing business will be easier now.
"That is an important piece of reform, because it speaks to the agenda of ease of doing business in India, which for British companies and for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) is incredibly important, because India has made great progress not only on GST, but also on the ease of doing business.
You know (it) makes India more attractive when it comes to investment opportunities and also for business to business relationship," she told ANI.
Talking about the United Kingdom's role in assisting with the development of smart cities in India, she said, "The British Government has already given its indication of smart city development in Pune, Indore and Amravati as well.
I met the minister yesterday for urban development and we discussed the assistance of my department and my government on technical support around the whole process of smart cities." She added that tomorrow (on Sunday) she will visit Bhopal to meet Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan to further discuss about the work that can be done on urbanisation and urban development.
Responding to a question about apprehensions in the business community after the U.K.'s exit from the European Union, she said the Indian businessmen are very positive about exploring new opportunities as Britain now has a new government department for international trade.
"During my visit, I spent a lot of time with the business community here in India and I could tell you, they are pretty positive and encouraged by what would follow because my prime minister, of course, has established now a new government department on international trade, which for India would mean new trading opportunity, more commerce opportunities and more business opportunities, which would be really important and good for India, good for the economy in India and in the long term good for jobs and development opportunities," she said.
Talking about her meeting with Prime Minister Modi earlier in the day, she said, "We spoke very much about the strength of the strategic U.K.-India relationship, where we are working in collaboration on skills in particular urban development and smart cities." When asked about Britain's view on the recent turmoil in Kashmir, and Pakistan taking the issue to the United Nations, she said when it comes to security cooperation and counter-terrorism support the United Kingdom will stand shoulder-to-shoulder with India.
"The United Kingdom is at the forefront of counter-terrorism and also on providing support to India on these issues in particular, when it comes to security cooperation and counter-terrorism support, the United Kingdom stands shoulder to shoulder with India," she said.
During the meeting with Prime Minister Modi, Patel briefed him on the activities and future plans of the Department for International Development in India.
She also discussed bilateral cooperation in the areas of skill development, infrastructure financing, innovation, energy, and ease of doing business.