Key role in European Parliament for Van Orden
Local Conservative MEP Geoffrey Van Orden MEP was today elected Chairman of the key Parliamentary Delegation for Relations with India. This comes at an important moment as the strategic and trade relationship assumes increasing importance, especially for the UK, but also for other European countries.
High on the list of priorities will be the stalled Bilateral Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA), the negotiations for which began in June 2007 but still lack agreement. Fortunately Mr Van Orden has already met Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on a number of occasions when he was Chief Minister of Gujarat.
Geoffrey Van Orden commented: "I have a long association with India going back to my days as a British Army Officer when I was fortunate to attend the Indian Defence Services Staff College in a very Indian-sounding place called Wellington, in the south of the country. I lived there with my young family and our love of India stems from those days. I have maintained strong connections ever since and most recently have been Chairman of the Europe-India Chamber of Commerce.
"Unfortunately, for many decades the relationship with India stalled and others seized the advantage. However, David Cameron has placed particular emphasis on improving Britain's trading position with India and UK-India trade has grown 50% from 11bn in 2009 to £16.4bn in 2013. The UK is the largest G20 investor in India. Interestingly, Britain's largest industrial employer today is Indian.
"I shall now work hard with governments and various Chambers of Commerce and trade associations to take forward this relationship".
Note to editors:
- The Delegation for Relations with India has 46 full and substitute members.
- The proposal BTIA covers a wide range of issues from market access for goods such as autoports and wines and spirits, insurance and banking and sustainable development.