British Water chief executive Lila Thompson has hailed a new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and the UK’s leading water sector trade association saying it will bring “a great boost” to trading relationships between the two countries.
Thompson’s comments were delivered at the India-UK Water Partnership Forum virtual event.
The agreement has been signed by British Water, cGanga - a think-tank set up by the Indian Government’s Ministry of Drinking Water & Sanitation (Jal Shakti) - and the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG).
With US$200 billion of investment planned for the Indian water market, the memorandum will make it easier for the UK water industry to participate and for Indian companies to access global markets.
“British Water and cGanga will plan to build a strong bridge not just for British industry seeking partnerships in India, but also to give a springboard to Indian industry seeking to go global,” Thompson told the recent virtual India-UK Water Partnership Forum, adding that collaboration would bring integrated water resource management techniques to the fore.
She said that India’s Environmental Technology Verification programme offered a useful channel for UK technology companies seeking to enter the Indian market.
India’s Secretary of the Ministry of Jal Shakti, Upendra Prasad Singh told delegates the vast challenges faced by the country, which includes bringing drinking water and sanitation to every household. The ambitious 2024 deadline for the drinking water mission meant making 1.1 million connections each day.
He added that by streamlining the design, construction and operation of new infrastructure, the Government aimed to raise the standard of project delivery and operation, adding that developers now had to operate the plant for 15 years and payment is linked to satisfactory performance,” he said.
Indian High Commissioner to the UK, Gaitri Issar Kumar, said: “The UK is at cutting edge of innovation in the water sector and is also the leading green finance hub of the world – there are today tremendous business and investment opportunities in the Indian water sector.”
City of London Corporation head of global exports and investments Ben Cackett added that the greening of Indian market was a key priority for the City:
“The UK and India are at the forefront of thinking how to unlock green growth and our nations recognise the transition to a sustainable future, particularly post Covid, is going to be the biggest challenge, but obviously the biggest investment opportunity too, for our generation.
“We know that India has a huge need for green infrastructure and in the water sector alone we need to see US$200 billion worth of capital investment in India over the next 10 years or so. So, as India embarks on its rapid infrastructure-led growth, we in the City are there to support the best access to capital markets globally to help this journey."
In recent years attempts to create greater links between the process sectors in both countries have grown noticeably. The British Safety Council is among those that have led the way with extensive training programmes set up with leading Indian organisations in recent years (see photo).