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Written Statement - First Minister’s Visit to India

Rt. Hon. Carwyn Jones AM, First Minister of Wales

Members will be aware that I have recently returned from a visit to India. The purpose of my visit was to build on Wales’ excellent relationship with India and to enhance business opportunities. Throughout the visit I was supported by the Honorary Consul of India to Wales, as well as by Welsh Government representatives, UKTI and the British Embassy.

In Delhi I met the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) to discuss trade and investment. The profile and reputation established by Wales in India was evident through the willingness and eagerness of FICCI to explore a range of business, cultural and tourism opportunities.

I established contact with India’s recently elected government through meeting the Minister for Finance, Defence and Corporate Affairs, Shri Arun Jaitley. Our meeting was positive and constructive and recognised the strong links between our two countries. Mr Jaitley described his recent visit to Wales and said how delighted he was at the reception he received.

In Mumbai I met the Vice Chairman of Tata Steel.  He emphasised Tata’s commitment to Wales notwithstanding the many challenges facing the steel industry at present. He noted that high UK energy costs continue to cause difficulty for competitive pricing and I assured him that the Welsh Government will continue to press the UK Government on this issue.  

I also met Wockhardt, a major pharmaceutical company, and  Firstsource Solutions,  each employing hundreds of people in  Wales. I was encouraged to hear of their plans for their Welsh operations and I assured them of a continuing supportive relationship with the Welsh Government.

I hosted a business reception in Mumbai for existing and potential investors into Wales. The reception was an excellent opportunity to promote business and cultural connections.

I was delighted to attend a British Council event to promote the creative industries and to celebrate the work of Dylan Thomas, R.S. Thomas and Hedd Wyn. I was also pleased to meet Rhian Edwards and Eurig Salisbury, two Welsh poets who are collaborating with two Indian poets, Sampurna Chattarji and Ranjit Hoskote, and to hear first hand of the work they have been working on.

I addressed the opening of the Mumbai Literary Festival. This provided an opportunity to celebrate links including music, language and poetry through the celebration of the DT100.

I also hosted a business dinner in Mumbai for companies who are interested in Wales as an investment location. The dinner was an opportunity to highlight the benefits of investing in Wales and the support available from the Welsh Government.

Whilst in Mumbai I took the opportunity to participate in a memorial service to the people who lost their lives at the Taj Mahal Palace & Tower hotel on 26th November 2008.

Wales has developed strong links with India since my last visit in 2012 and we will build on these links in the years ahead. I believe there are significant opportunities for Wales in India, and for India in Wales.