Sharing experiences on Covid-19 impact will help both countries refine their economic policies

India, UK ties are important as together they are two of the world’s top seven economies with a combined GDP of over $5 trillion, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Wednesday.

Speaking at the the10th India-UK Economic and Financial Dialogue, the Finance Minister noted that India and the UK have a plan to jointly invest up to £8 million between the Department of Biotechnology for research into factors leading to the severity of the coronavirus.

In a joint statement, both sides noted that they are together in combating significant health and economic risks imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The UK and India stand shoulder to shoulder in combating its significant health and economic risks. Our countries have responded decisively, taking the right measures to protect lives and livelihoods,” the joint statement released after the meeting said.

It was further noted in the statement that the UK Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) will contribute to India’s Coronavirus Joint Response Plan (JRP) and antimicrobial resistance (AMR) via the World Health Organisation with an initial amount of £600,000.

This will provide a platform for further bilateral cooperation on AMR through a Fleming Fund partnership with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in the future, the statement said.

Sitharaman said that this session on sharing experiences on Covid-19 impact will help both countries refine their economic policies and help in learning to ensure a better outcome

To revive the economy, she noted that the UK-India Capital Markets Working Group has helped in attracting inflows into India’s capital market.

India-UK strategic collaboration has helped to accelerate the development of GIFT City with Standard Chartered and HSBC opening offices in GIFT city, becoming the first foreign banks to be licensed to operate an international banking unit, she added.

Further, Sitharaman said the UK-India FinTech Joint Working Group met in March 2020 to seek greater acceptance of RuPay Cards in the UK. She said FinTech is a key engagement area for cooperation as a sunshine sector where India is number four in terms of potential.

During the conference, both sides reiterated their support towards the G20’s Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI) to provide liquidity support to the most vulnerable countries.

“Given the depth of needs in these economies, we welcome the DSSI’s extension to June 2021 and in-principle agreement to a Common Framework for Debt Treatments beyond the DSSI. On the taxation challenges of digitalization, we will continue to work together through the OECD’s Inclusive Framework and cooperate towards a fair and equitable solution to implement both Pillars,” the joint statement said.