Zerophoto - Fotolia

A strong UK-India bond on tech can benefit us all

The UK tech sector can benefit from the government’s work to forge closer ties with India’s burgeoning digital economy

As the UK navigates Brexit, there is a growing urgency to develop its global trading partnerships, and the government has rightly set its sights on India.

Forging a closer tie with India is warranted for several reasons. UK-Indian bilateral trade in goods and services was worth £18bn in 2017 and there has been year-on-year growth of 15%.

India is an emerging tech powerhouse. Already the world’s second largest smartphone market, it is on course to become the second largest market for IT generally by the end of 2018.

Indian prime minister Narendra Modi has embarked on initiatives such as the Digital India campaign (potentially worth £45bn over 10 years), which is looking to improve access to public service through the improvement of IT infrastructure.

There is also Make in India, which is a policy plan launched by Modi in 2014, to make India a global hub for design and manufacturing. It is expected that between now and 2025, India will spend £400bn there. These are all are set to transform the tech economy in India.

Building UK-India relationships

Tech businesses can play a huge part in the UK building its relationship with India. In April 2018, Theresa May and Modi launched the UK-India Tech Partnership amid a wider commitment “to strengthening their strategic partnership and growing convergence on regional and international issues”.

The Tech Partnership will include a Tech Hub to identify and pair businesses, venture capital, universities and others to access routes to markets for British and Indian tech companies.

Over the past five years, the UK-Israel tech hub on which it will be based on has generated £62m of deal value with a potential impact of up to £600m for the UK economy.

Given the size of the Indian market, the UK-India Tech Hub could be even more successful, promoting collaboration between Indian and UK investors, tech leaders and startups.

As part of this new partnership, TechUK and the National Association of Software & Services Companies (Nasscom) also launched the UK-India Tech Alliance and agreed on a Memorandum of Understanding to support the flourishing IT sectors in India and UK by developing stronger links, networks and joint platforms, helping enhance the skills of the technology workforce in both countries.

Digital skills

The UK can learn a lot from India on how to address our growing digital skills gap. India has become a global leader in producing digitally skilled graduates at scale, who are able to enter the workforce upon graduation.

India has set clear targets to upskill five million IT professionals and is rapidly working towards this target. By comparison, the UK still has some way to go and through a greater partnership it is hoped that the UK can learn from India’s work to date.

The UK’s collaboration with India on skills and innovation is just one part of the jigsaw as the government looks to achieve its ambitions of creating a “Global Britain”. The tech industry can benefit greatly from stronger global ties so that, as new innovations develop, we can work internationally to ensure that all societies and citizens can feel the benefits.

With Brexit fast approaching, the UK government must act now to build the networks, links and trade environment that will further embed us into the global digital economy and ensure we are leading the tech revolution.

TechUK is glad to see the urgency at which the UK government is approaching this and excited to see the outcomes from secretary of state Matt Hancock’s visit to India, but we must all come together as an industry to help develop and get the most out of this relationship.

Read more about UK and India tech

Read more on IT suppliers

Data Center
Data Management