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India (Outstanding Payments to British Companies)

Volume 600: debated on Tuesday 20 October 2015

3. What recent discussions he has had with the Government of India on outstanding payments due to British companies for work carried out during the 2010 Commonwealth games. (901649)

In the case of SIS Live, the British high commission in New Delhi has provided consistent support to the company and urged the Government of India to resolve the dispute over payment. I personally raised this issue with the Indian high commissioner just yesterday, and we will continue to press for a satisfactory settlement.

I thank the Minister for that response and for the work he has carried out on this issue. SIS Live is a perfectly respectable British company which fully delivered on its commitments in the 2010 Delhi Commonwealth games. Does he agree that the outstanding debt of £29 million should be paid to SIS Live in advance of the Indian Prime Minister’s visit to this country later this year?

Yes, we very much hope this will be resolved before Prime Minister Modi comes here shortly. The visit will be an opportunity for us to discuss a wide range of issues. Bilateral trade with India is extremely good, but what is important is the signal this matter sends to other potential British companies looking to invest in India, so we do want it resolved.

While of course accepting the need for British companies to be paid and for Indian companies to be paid by British companies with which they are doing business, may I join the Minister in welcoming the visit of Narendra Modi, which has caused huge excitement among the British Indian community in places such as London and Leicester? Will it enable the Government to send out a message that it is not just learning Chinese that is important but that a bit of Hindi will go down well in our bilateral relations?

I very much hope the right hon. Gentleman is not going to test me on my Hindi now. Of course we are all looking forward to the visit of Prime Minister Modi. Quite apart from the Government-arranged events, there is going to be a huge diaspora event, in which the Prime Minister will be able to speak—I am sure the right hon. Gentleman is closely involved in organising it. Clearly, we want more British students to study in India, but the opportunities for the provision of English language teaching in India are the ones on which we should concentrate.