The UK can no longer rely on the colonial sentiments of the past as it seeks to build new business links with India, London’s Mayor Boris Johnson said today.
Mr Johnson, on a six-day trip to the country to promote business links with London, said to simply rely on India’s history with the UK “simply didn’t cut the mustard”.
He said: “The objective is to build up what is a new partnership between London, the UK and India.
“We can’t rely on sentiment. Everybody knows this. All this stuff about links and language doesn’t cut the mustard any more.
“It’s all about what London has – the brands we can offer, the opportunities we can offer to Indian business.”
Mr Johnson is today visiting Akshardham Hindu temple, which has links with Neasden temple, before heading to India Gate.
The mayor is a known critic of the Government’s decision to restrict the number of student visas, adding that he was concerned many young Indian people often decided to study in America.
Mr Johnson added: “On the way in to Delhi I saw a Jaguar car driving in from the airport which had been made in Coventry and now owned by an Indian company.
“Imagine if a million were driving Jaguar cars, you can see where the opportunities are.
“The worry is that young Indians are already orientated towards America. They think about higher education in America, we do much better with young Chinese for example.
“Visas is a point but it’s not the only point. It’s the mood music, so what I want to do is explain how welcoming London is.”
The mayor said Transport for London was already looking at offering consultancy advice on how to run an underground system as Delhi has a brand new metro network.