A minister in the UK Treasury has said that the dispute surrounding the USD 1.6 billion tax bill imposed on Scottish oil major Cairn Energy by Indian authorities will not affect UK investor confidence in India.
In an exclusive interview with PTI following her meeting with Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in London, Priti Patel said, “No, I don’t see this (Cairn Energy tax dispute) as a problem. Mr Jaitley has just delivered his Budget and the full beam has been on the delivery and implementation of that”.
“There are always cases and challenges, that is the nature of diplomatic relations but it is about how you work through those and how you can support each other through them”.
Asked if the issue featured in Jaitley’s bilateral talks with UK Chancellor George Osborne earlier on Saturday, she added, “I haven’t been part of the private conversations but the reality is that engagement opportunities are always about some of the challenging issues as well as the more progressive issues”.
“I can’t be more specific but this is all about working together, deepening ties and supporting both our countries and economies as we advance forward,” she said.
Patel, in her role as Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury and Prime Minister David Cameron’s ‘Indian Diaspora champion’, also led the discussions at a roundtable co-hosted with the London Stock Exchange (LSE) for Jaitley on Saturday.
The meeting involving key investors from the financial services sector as well as Indian and UK businesses was aimed at strengthening the financial and economic dialogue and links between India and the UK.
The stock exchange was bathed in the colours of the Indian tricolour as a special welcome for the Indian Finance Minister, who was welcomed by LSE CEO Xavier Rolet.
“It is also about having a stable and competitive financial services industry. The Stock Exchange in particular has a long tradition and history of supporting Indian companies seeking international growth capital.
“We followed the Indian Budget with interest and we are thrilled the Insurance Bill has gone through.
The core focus of on Saturday’s meeting is on the financial services sector, insurance and banking as well,” explained Patel, who had also launched the Indian Rupee bond dubbed “Masala Bond” aimed at investments in the Indian infrastructure sector at the LSE back in November, 2014.
“Those are the types of initiatives and ties that we want to grow and develop and advance further because India has a huge need for financial capital for its ambitious plans with economic reforms and what better place than the City of London to have that realisation of it,” she added.
Describing the India-UK partnership as one of “equals”, the senior Gujarati-origin Conservative Party MP said, “There is a huge change agenda that has swept India with a government that is very outward facing.
As India liberalises more and more and seeks more investor capital coming in, we’ll see a huge sea change”. The key recommendations to come out of the meeting at the LSE will feed the India-UK Financial Partnership.