London is 'open', Mayor Sadiq Khan tells Indian firms
London: London Mayor Sadiq Khan on October 12 reached out to leading Indian firms, the second biggest foreign investors in London who employ around 50,000 people, to reassure them that the British capital remains "open" for business amid concerns arising out of uncertainty post Brexit.
The Pakistani-origin mayor hosted a meeting at his City Hall office by the river Thames with 17 companies already working with London, including the Tata Group, Infosys, Wipro, ZEE TV, ICICI Bank, among others, to discuss expanding their links with London after Britain's decision to leave the EU.
"London is open for investment and business from around the globe and the city already has an excellent trading relationship with India," 46-year-old Sadiq Khan said.
"I am looking forward to meeting with leading Indian businesses to reassure them that our great city remains open to the best global talent, and I'm keen to discuss how we can strengthen and support further investment in London," he added before the meeting, which was chaired by his Indian-origin deputy mayor for business and enterprise, Rajesh Agarwal.
Among the participants was Shuchita Sonalika, UK Country Head and Director of the Confederation of Indian Industry.
She said nearly 40 per cent of the fastest-growing Indian companies investing in the UK are based in London, highlighting that London has been the destination of choice for Indian FDI.
"Their diverse operations range from IT, financial services, media and entertainment, tourism and others," she said.
"We hope that London will continue to be an attractive place to do business and their interests will be fortified post-Brexit. This interaction of Indian companies with Mayor Sadiq Khan is testament to that effort and CII looks forward to working with the Mayor's team to deepen business links between India and London," she added.
Indian businesses employ around 50,000 people in London and are the second-biggest foreign investors in London.
According to data from the Mayor's promotional company, London & Partners (L&P), in the last 10 years, London has attracted more foreign direct investment (FDI) from India than Japan and China and only the US invests more.
India is also described as a "crucial trading partner" for London and a "significant market" for London's businesses, with the value of the city's exports to India amounting to 1.29 billion pounds in 2014. There is uncertainty over what Britain's vote to leave the European Union in a referendum in June would mean for foreign businesses.
Kevin McCole, Chief Operating Officer of the UK Business India Council (UKIBC), said: "Indian business contributes hugely to London, and London businesses contribute hugely to India. So, at this time of uncertainty due to Brexit, the UK India Business Council is delighted that the Mayor and his Deputy have taken the time to hear the views of Indian businesses in London, and, quite rightly, to remind them that London is open for business."