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Country Facts

Area: 3,287,623m sq km (1,269,219 sq miles)
Population: 1.21 billion (provisional Government of India Census data, 2011)
Capital City: New Delhi
Languages: The official language of India is Hindi, written in the Devanagari script and spoken by some 30% of the population as a first language. Since 1965 English has been recognised as an 'associated language'. In addition there are 18 main and regional languages recognised for adoption as official state languages.
Religions: India is a secular state and freedom of religion is protected under the Constitution. The main religious groups are Hindus (80.5%), Muslims (13.4%), Christians (2.3%) and Sikhs (1.9%).
Currency: Rupee
Government: United Progressive Alliance, a Congress-led coalition.
Head of State: President Pratibha Patil
Prime Minister: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh
Foreign Minister: S.M. Krishna
Membership of international groupings/organisations: Commonwealth, United Nations, United Nations Human Rights Council, World Trade Organisation; G20, South Asian Association for Regional Co-operation (SAARC), ASEAN (dialogue partner); G4, IBSA.

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Basic Economic Facts

Nominal GDP: $1.4 trillion (CSO, 2010)
% population< $1.25 day: 34.3% (UNDP, 2007)
% population< $2 day: 80.4% (UNDP, 2007)
GDP Growth: 8% (Gol,2009-10)
Major Industries: Textiles, chemicals, food processing, steel, transportation equipment, cement, mining, petroleum, machinery, software, gems and jewellery, leather manufactures.
Major trading partners for 2009-10: China (9.1%), USA (7.8 %), Saudi Arabia (4.5%), Germany (3.4%)
Imports for 2009-2010): China (10.7%), UAE (6.8%), Saudi Arabia (5.9%), USA (5.9%), and Switzerland (5.1%)
Exports for 2009-2010: UAE (13.4%), USA (10.9%), China (6.5%), Hong Kong (4.4%), Singapore (4.2%), Netherlands (3.5%), UK (3.5%)

The UK, with a 3.5% share of exports and 1.5% in imports, ranks as India’s 13 trading partner.

Exchange rate: Indian rupees per UK Pound Sterling is 72.51.
The UK is the fourth largest FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) investor into India, the other three being Mauritius, Singapore and USA.

Bilateral trade (both goods and services) is worth £11.5bn as at 2009/10.

In 2008/9, the UK attracted 108 project investments from India (2nd only after the US), generating 4139 new jobs (again, 2nd only after the US).

There are more than 600 Indian companies with investments in the UK; about two thirds are in the ICT/software sector. The value of Indian investment in the UK is estimated to be £9bn. Taking the large acquisitions in to account, the UK receives more than 50% of India's investment in to Europe. About 20% of India’s IT revenues come from the UK.

The value of exports dropped off significantly in 2009 due in large part to a fall in the price of diamonds, a commodity that forms a disproportionate amount of our exports to India.

Foreign Direct Investment (FDI)

At end-2008, the stock of FDI from the UK into India was £3,879m (compared to £2,942m at end-2007).

The stock of FDI from India into the UK at end-2008 was £3,439m (compared to £1,376m at end-2007).


India’s economy is one of the fastest expanding in the world, with a rapidly expanding consumer class. The UK has strong ties with India, and UK companies are well positioned to take advantage of this growing export and investment market.

Budget Major Highlights in Finance Minister Mukherjee’s FY 10/11 budget to Parliament on 28 February 2010:

-- A Four-Pronged Strategy to spur growth in the Agriculture Sector. This includes Agricultural Production, reduction in wastage of produce, credit support to farmers and thrust to the food processing sector.

-- New tax incentives announced for the infrastructure sector.

-- Emphasis on consolidated growth, improving investment environment, inclusive development and strengthening transparency and public accountability.

Lowering fiscal deficit to 5.5% of GDP

-- Targeted disinvestment program to raise capital.
Simplify Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). For the first time both ownership & control recognized as central to the FDI policy.

-- Indian rupee to get a symbol, join the select club of currencies.

-- Major tax relief to agriculture & related sectors.

Recent economic developments

India’s economy was among the first in the world to recover after the global crisis, growing by 5.9 per cent in 2009. Looking ahead India is expected to play an increasingly vocal role in key international negotiations.


The sectors offering the greatest opportunities for British companies in India include:

Advanced Engineering

-- Agribusiness, Food and Retail

Creative & Media

-- Defence and Security

Education & Skills

-- Energy

Financial & Professional Services

-- ICT


-- Life Sciences

UKTI has a network of specialists in these sectors throughout India (see who are able to offer up-to-date advice on the latest opportunities and appropriate entry strategies.

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BBC News Country Timeline: India (

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Relations with the UK

Bilateral relations have steadily strengthened over the last two or three years and are now at their healthiest for a very long time. This is reflected in a number of areas, including closeness on current international issues; bilateral trade (£11.5 billion in 2009); increased education links, and a strong development partnership since 2003.

Enhanced Partnership

The UK Government is committed to developing an enhanced partnership with India. The relationship is mutually beneficial and wide ranging – covering commercial ties, education, science, research, sport and culture.

Our commitment to the UK/India relationship was demonstrated by the visit by the Prime Minister in July 2010. The visit was one of the biggest ever. The PM was accompanied by six Ministerial colleagues and around 80 senior business people, academics and sports personalities

As well as agreement on an ambitious agenda of increased trade, co-operation on civil nuclear technology and people-people links, the visit resulted in a number of concrete outcomes:

-- A CEO Forum of senior business people to advise the two PMs on increasing trade and investment

-- A new phase in the UK-India Education and Research initiative

-- A UK-India Future Leaders Network to create links between dynamic young leaders in each country

An MOU on Cultural Co-operation

Launched in April 2000 ‘The UK-India Round Table’ is a testament of the ongoing co-operation between the two nations. It brings together senior UK and Indian opinion-formers to work up practical suggestions for enhancing bilateral activity and cooperation on global issues. The thirteenth meeting of the Round Table took place on 18-20 February 2011 in New Delhi, India; the fourteenth meeting of the Round Table will take place in the UK in April 2012.

Recent Visits to India

-- Jeremy Browne, Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, 13-16 February 2012

-- Andrew Mitchell, Secretary of State for International Development, 14-16 December 2011

-- Gregory Barker, Minister of State for Climate Change and Energy, 12-17 November 2011

-- David Willetts, Minister for Higher Education and Science, 13–17 November 2011

-- Caroline Spellman, Secretary of State, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, 3-4 October 2011

-- Kenneth Clarke, Secretary of State for Justice, 25-28 September 2011

-- Baroness Warsi, Cabinet Office Minister, 18-20 September 2011

-- Lord Howell of Guildford, Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, 30-31 August 2011

-- Liam Fox, Secretary of State for Defence, 7-8 July 2011

-- Lynne Featherstone, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Minister for Equalities) for the Home Office, 15-17 June 2011

-- Jeremy Browne, Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs,, 5-7 June 2011

-- Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government visited India on 18-21 April 2011

-- Lord Stephen Green, UKTI Minister visited India on 14 -18 March 2011

-- Vince Cable, Secretary of State for Business visited India on 16-19 January 2011

-- Gerald Howarth, Minister for International Security Strategy, visited India on 14-15 January 2011

-- Andrew Mitchell, DFID Minister visited India on 23-26 November 2010

-- Liam Fox, Defence Minister visited India on 22-23 November 2010
David Willetts, Universities Minister visited India on 9-11 November 2010

-- Damian Green, Minister of State for Borders and Immigration, visited India on 22-26 August 2010

-- Prime Minister, Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Chancellor of the Exchequer, Secretary of State for Business, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Universities and Science Minister, and Minister of State for Department of Energy and Climate Change, visited India on 27-30 July 2010

Recent Visits to UK

-- Meira Kumar, Speaker of the Indian Lower House (Lok Sabha) visited UK on 15-19-January 2011

-- Pradeep Kumar, Indian Defence Secretary, visited UK on 10-12 January 2011

-- Veerappa Moily, Indian Law and Justice Minister, visited UK on 5-9 July 2010

-- Anand Sharma, Indian Minster of Trade and Commerce, visited UK on 27-28 June 2010

People to People Links

Indians are the single largest minority ethnic group in the UK – approximately 2% of the total population. The Indian community in the UK is highly educated (25% tertiary), and enjoys good levels of employment (70%). They are the most prosperous of the major ethnic communities in the country. They are the most prosperous of the major ethnic communities in the country. One in five of the UK’s under 40 richest - is of Indian origin. The Indian Community is predominantly of Gujurati (45%) and Punjabi (45%) origin and now into its third generation. The community ascribes to a mix of religions: Hinduism (45%), Sikhism (30%) and Islam (13%) and has settled predominantly in London (40%), and in the Midlands (30%).

The Indian Community is influential, innovative and successful in business, politics (currently there are 8 MPs in Britain of Indian origin) and the arts: a major part of the UK's economy and culture.

There are 131 scheduled flights a week between the UK and India. In 2008 700,000 British nationals visited India, and around 500,000 Indians visited the UK.

Entry Clearance

India is home to the UK’s largest visa operation worldwide. In the region of half a million visas were processed in India in 2010. India remains one of the largest source countries for students wanting to study in the UK. It continues to be a significant source of skilled migrants – providing in the region of half of all those coming globally under Tier 2 of the points based system and more than 60% of intra-company transferees.

UK Development Assistance

The UK’s partnership with India, re-energised by the Prime Minister's visit in 2010, covers many areas, including development. India is growing fast, but its national income per person is £730, compared to £25,800 in the UK. India’s poorest states – each of them larger than most African countries – still face huge development challenges. For example, more than half of the young children in Bihar are undernourished. The state of Bihar alone has double the number of people living in extreme poverty than Ethiopia. Madhya Pradesh has the same population as Britain but an economy 100 times smaller and 50 times more mothers die there every year. The Government has therefore decided that it is not yet time to end British support for development in India.

Given India’s economic growth and rising resources, the UK Government is keen to bring its development partnership with India up-to-date. Andrew Mitchell, the Secretary of State for International Development, outlined his vision for the UK’s development programme in India in his speech on Emerging Powers ( at Chatham House in London in February 2011. He said, “Having discussed this with the Government of India, I believe that, for the next few years, it is in both India’s interest and in Britain’s interest for us to continue our highly successful collaboration on development, not least so we can support the Government of India’s own successful programmes in the poorest priority areas”.

Over the next four years, UK aid will focus on India’s poorest states and poorest people. The UK will share expertise, support innovation and build skills to help India’s public and private resources go further. UK development support will be targeted to the poorest women and girls, to help them get quality schooling, healthcare, nutrition and jobs which are the key to breaking the cycle of poverty for the next generation.

The Government of India is strongly committed to tackling poverty. They have launched a number of successful poverty-reduction schemes to improve healthcare, education, water and basic housing for the poorest. In 2009/10, India invested 30% of its budget on health, education, rural development and food aid alone. Absolute public spending on education and health have doubled in recent years. These resources have had a significant impact – for example, an additional 60 million children into school since 2003.

UK aid is having an impact in India. For example, UK aid has lifted 2.3 million people out of poverty in rural areas in the last 5 years and saved more than 30,000 lives through tuberculosis treatment since 2005. Over the next few years, our support will be targeted to the poorest women and girls, to help them get the quality schooling, healthcare, nutrition and jobs which are the key to breaking the cycle of poverty for the next generation. UK aid will help half a million mothers deliver babies more safely; and reach over three million children with nutrition programmes.

India is a key strategic partner to Britain and an important member of the Commonwealth - it is in Britain’s and India’s interests that we maintain our deep historical, political and people links. Over the next four years, UK taxpayers will help make a real difference to the lives of millions of the world's poorest people – particularly those left behind by India’s overall progress because of gender, caste, ethnicity or religion. Our aim, as with all aid, is that it is no longer required. Over time, we are transitioning from an aid-based development relationship into a partnership on critical global issues, from financial stability and trade to climate change and food security.

More information on DfID's aid programmes is available at: Department for International Development (DFID) (

Cultural Relations with the UK

The British Council’s India operation is one of its largest in the world, with offices in the four metro cities and British Libraries in seven other cities, the latter managed in co-operation with the Indian Council for Cultural Relations. The Council's main activities involve offering library services to 112,000 private and 4,000 corporate members, marketing UK education, administering 80,000 UK examinations per year, and running a varied programme of projects in governance and human rights, science and technology, The British Council delivers over 200,000 UK examinations in India each year. These are primarily English language tests and professional qualifications. British Council’s –Project English has now worked with over 2,300 master trainers throughout India who themselves reached over 450,000 teachers, who in turn taught 17 million learners. In recent years, the British Council has also introduced an on-line service to reach a wider audience of young Indians. In 2009-10 British Council reached audiences of over 54 million people in India.

There are over 80 substantial collaborative UK –India education programmes, which provide Indian students degrees from top universities of UK. There are some 5,000 Indians studying for UK degrees in India.

The UK-India Education and Research (UKIERI) linked 375 schools in the UK and India and has established 14 joint programmes in the professional and technical sector.
British Council: India (

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India forms a natural sub-continent with the Himalayas to the north. The Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal, which are sections of the Indian Ocean, lie to the west and east respectively. India's neighbours are China (Tibet), Bhutan and Nepal to the north, Pakistan to the north-west, and Burma to the north-east. To the east, almost surrounded by India, is Bangladesh. Near India's southern tip, across the Palk Strait, is Sri Lanka.

India has 28 states with constitutionally defined powers of government. The states vary greatly in size, population and development. Each state has a Governor appointed by the President for five years, a legislature elected for five years, and a Council of Ministers headed by a Chief Minister. Each state has its own legislative, executive and judicial machinery, corresponding to that of the Indian Union. In the event of the failure of constitutional government in a state, the Union can impose President's Rule. There are also seven Union Territories including the National Capital Territory of Delhi, administered by Lieutenant Governors or Administrators, all of whom are appointed by the President. The Territories of Delhi and Puducherry also have elected chief ministers and state assemblies.

The 28 states are: Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Goa, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Manipur, Maharashtra, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Orissa, Punjab, Rajasthan, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Tripura, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and West Bengal.

The Territories are: Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Chandigarh, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Daman and Diu, Delhi, Lakshadweep, and Puducherry.

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India is a federal country. The Indian Constitution provides a system of parliamentary and cabinet government both at the centre and in the states. The Indian Parliament consists of the President, elected for a five-year term as the constitutional head of the executive and two Houses: The Lower House - Lok Sabha ('House of the People') - directly elected on the basis of universal adult suffrage; and the Upper House - Rajya Sabha ('Council of States') - indirectly elected by the members of state legislative assemblies.

Whilst neither can command a clear Parliamentary majority, following their good performance in the May 2009 general election, the Congress is now in a dominant position and heads the ruling coalition at the Centre, called the United Progressive Alliance (UPA). The BJP leads the Opposition alliance known as the National Democratic Alliance (NDA).

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India has a robust parliamentary tradition, an independent judiciary, professional and apolitical armed forces, a vibrant civil society, and free and outspoken media. India has signed and ratified all of the major International Treaties and Covenants on Human Rights except the Convention Against Torture, which it signed in 1997. There has been progress on human rights in a number of areas, including on women’s rights and an important recent development for child rights has been the adoption of the 2009 Right to Education Act guaranteeing free, compulsory and quality education for children aged 6-14 years which came into effect on 1 April 2010. Implementation of legislation varies from state to state and awareness of human rights issues is inconsistent. As a result, the rights of women, children, minorities, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes often suffer. The socially and economically disadvantaged sections are particularly vulnerable. Affirmative action, through reserving government jobs for some groups, has had some impact to empower them economically.

DFID’s programmes are designed to ensure that poor and marginalised groups gain greater access to development and economic opportunities.

There has been an ongoing EU-India Human Rights Dialogue since 2004 which set the structure for discussions on human rights between senior officials of both sides.


The status of Kashmir and the history of events leading to its division have long been contested and led to at least three wars between India and Pakistan. India claims that the former princely state of Jammu and Kashmir legally acceded to it in 1947. Pakistan claims that Kashmiris were denied their choice of which state to join and has since held that the status of Kashmir can only be decided by a plebiscite in line with UN Resolutions passed in 1948. Kashmir has been divided since 1948 by a cease-fire line, known since 1972 as the Line of Control (LoC).

Pakistani-administered Kashmir is almost exclusively Muslim, divided between so-called Azad (“Free”) Kashmir and the more remote Gilgit-Baltistan, (formerly known as the Federally Administered Northern Areas). Indian-administered Kashmir is divided into three main and very different sectors: the Kashmir Valley which is mostly Muslim, Jammu which has a slim majority of Hindus, and Ladakh, which is sparsely populated and half Buddhist. Political orientations of people in Indian-administered Kashmir are not governed by religious identity alone. Each of these regions is internally differentiated on linguistic, religious and cultural lines.

There has been continued violence in the Kashmir Valley between armed groups and the Indian security forces since the insurgency began in 1988/9. Levels of violence have fallen in recent years: from a total of around 4,500 deaths in 2001 (including over 1,000 civilians) to around 381 in 2009 (including 78 civilian deaths) to over 100 in 2010. This decrease in violence continued in 2011, which was largely peaceful. The Indian security force presence in Indian-administered Kashmir remains high, and there continue to be allegations of serious human rights violations by both militants and security forces. The Pakistani security force presence in Pakistani-administered Kashmir also remains high with strong controls on freedom of expression and constant security surveillance. There are reports of militant camps in Pakistani-administered Kashmir. The Indian Government has said that levels of militant infiltration across the LoC have begun to rise since 2009 after showing a decline since 2005 (official figures say there were 342 incidents of infiltration in 2008 and 485 in 2009).

Since 2004, India and Pakistan have had several rounds of negotiations including a ‘Composite Dialogue’ aimed at settling all bilateral issues, including Kashmir. The Composite Dialogue was suspended following the terrorist attacks in Mumbai in November 2008 but bilateral talks resumed in February 2010.

The Prime Ministers Singh and Gilani met in April 2010 and announced their aim to build trust and confidence in order to pave the way for substantive dialogue. In February 2011, the Indian and Pakistani Foreign Secretaries met in Bhutan and announced that they would take forward dialogue on a range of bilateral subjects. Prime Ministers Singh and Gilani met twice in 2011, during the India-Pakistan world cup cricket match in March and during the SAARC Summit in November.

Since 2005, both countries have agreed to a range of confidence building measures including the introduction of bus services on the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad and Poonch-Rawalkot routes to connect Kashmiris on both sides of the Line of Control (LoC). Five crossing points on the LoC have been opened to enable movement of people between both sides. India and Pakistan also opened up trade on select items across the LoC in October 2008. These are significant symbolic advances for both India-Pakistan relations and for the people of Kashmir.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has held talks with several Kashmiri separatist leaders since 2005 and subsequently instituted five ‘working groups,’ comprising political party representatives and experts, to frame recommendations for addressing the issue. In October 2009, Indian Home Minister Chidambaram announced that he would start a “quiet dialogue” with moderate Kashmiri separatists.

In September 2010 an all-party delegation from the Indian Parliament visited Kashmir to hold talks with a range of political leaders and ordinary Kashmiris. In October 2010 the Indian Government appointed three interlocutors to take forward dialogue between Delhi and a range of stakeholders to help resolve the situation in Indian administered Kashmir. The interlocutors submitted their recommendations to the Home Minister in October 2011.

UK Position on Kashmir:
The long standing position of the UK is that it is for India and Pakistan to find a lasting resolution to the situation in Kashmir, one which takes into account the wishes of the Kashmiri people. It is not for the UK to prescribe a solution or to mediate in finding one. We welcome the positive steps being taken by Pakistan and India to build trust and confidence.

We remain committed to our engagement in a practical way through the UK Government’s Conflict Pool, which continues to fund a number of projects designed to assist those in India, Pakistan and on both sides of the LoC with efforts to facilitate dialogue and address the causes and impact of conflict in the region.

Human Rights in Kashmir

Officials in our High Commissions in Islamabad and New Delhi regularly discuss the situation in Kashmir with the Indian and Pakistani Governments and with our contacts in Indian and Pakistani-administered Kashmir. The UK calls for an end to all external support for violence in Kashmir and an improvement in the human rights situation there. UK funding supports human rights, conflict prevention, development and peace building efforts on both sides of the Line of Control.

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Last Updated: February 2012

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