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Nick Clegg reviews his third day in India

August 28, 2014 8:15 PM
Originally published by UK Liberal Democrats

Our third and final day in India began with an early rise of 5.15am so we could make the long journey to Southern India - myself to Bangalore to try to better understand India's 'Silicon Valley' and for Ed to visit Hyderabad to continue his energy and climate change discussions.

After arriving at Bangalore's impressive new airport, our first stop was the Airbus India facility in one of the hubs of the city's IT sector. This Airbus site isn't where they actually build the planes - a lot of that happens in the UK - but it instead focuses on the hi-tech modelling, testing and simulation of civil aircraft.

A Q&A with staff revealed they were very proud to be working for Airbus as a business born from a cross European partnership, and interested in building greater relations with the UK. The site manager told me that they had many French and Germans working at the facility but had not yet managed to attract any Brits. So if any of you fancy a high-tech job in a somewhat sunnier climate then I'm happy to put you in touch!

One of the main reasons for my visit to Bangalore was to inaugurate the new UK-India Business Council office so that is where we headed to next. For those unfamiliar with UKIBC, it is a UK government initiative that provides really practical support and facilities to British businesses - especially SMEs - that want to enter the Indian market. It's a great initiative that means you can get everything from a desk and phone to market Intel in one convenient place.

Bangalore is clearly booming and the people who work here have an infectious enthusiasm for its potential. You hear many stories of companies that have grown from small start-ups to multi-billion giants virtually overnight. My final engagement of the day was to meet with the Chief Minister of Karnataka to discus how this had been achieved and his future plans for the state.

The trip to India has been a really positive experience. It's an overused phrase but India is genuinely at a crossroads. Prime Minister Modi has a clear vision for how India can finally reach its enormous potential and the enthusiasm of the people I have met gives me no doubt this will happen.