The Manchester India Partnership (MIP) has launched a refreshed strategy to strengthen ties between Manchester and India, reports Rahul Laud.
The strategy is guided by the UK India 2030 roadmap and has re-aligned itself with the updated Greater Manchester (GM) Industrial Strategy. Over the next nine years, the strategy document states “the Manchester India Partnership will grow as a soft power centre. Culture with all its subsets will be central to the MIP’s strategy of using soft power to engage with institutional partners, influencers and ambassadors, to raise the profile of the Greater Manchester region in India.
This will build a strong narrative with a multiplier effect, to catalyse several collaborations in sport, music, theatre, dance, arts, films, creative and Digital media. This would lead to a raft of Indian film Festivals, award functions, art exhibitions, music and dance performances. The launch of the South Asia Gallery in the Manchester Museum next year will be a useful anchor to support this idea.”
Cultural diplomacy now sits at heart of the MIP’s strategy for the next eight years, document points out.
Over the years, Manchester has been developed into a soft power centre, which leverages the cultural and people connections to inculcate a spirit of collaboration between GM and India, thereby delivering opportunities for business and mutual prosperity.
Greater Manchester’s Local Industrial Strategy provides the focus for this activity, engaging India in GM’s key areas of strengths that align with India’s growth sectors. These include Digital and Technology, Low Carbon, Advanced Manufacturing and Health Innovation.
Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, said:
“The Manchester India Partnership has played a key role in developing and expanding connections between our city-region and India over the last few years. This renewed strategy will set out how that relationship can be strengthened in the future, based around our long-term ambitions for trade, investment, and innovation.
“Our city-region is home to more than 55,000 people from the Indian diaspora, and what this strategy also does is acknowledge the importance and the value of those cultural links that enrich and enliven our communities, and how they too can be a source of shared prosperity.”
Shehla Hasan, Executive Director Manchester India Partnership said,
“Over 1,000 businesses in the Northwest exported over £310 million worth of goods to India in 2019 and in the financial year 2021-2022, India became the fastest growing economy in the world. Our aim is for Greater Manchester to be recognised as the strongest UK region as a partner for this sustained growth”.
Shehla elaborated that the strategy focuses on five key pillars that accurately mirrors GM’s priorities for the future:
1. Raising the profile of Greater Manchester in India
2. Accelerating educational, innovation and entrepreneurship links between GM and India
3. Promoting culture, sports and tourism collaborations
4. Enhanced trade and investment
5. Increase in visitor numbers to the city region from India
She explained that,”This is a live document with a flexible time-bound approach depending on external and internal circumstances. This strategy is based on a clear picture of what success would look like.”
To achieve these ambitions MIP will proactively engage partner organisations such as the Department for International Trade, the Confederation of Indian Industry, the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry, MIDAS, Marketing Manchester and Visit Britain.
The Manchester India Business Group launched this year by MIP, a networking club to promote the Manchester-India commercial and cultural relationship will also be an important platform for businesses and people from both regions to meet, exchange experiences and listen to informative and influential speakers including senior government officials, politicians, business leaders, editors, and culture curators, Shehla pointed out.
Simon Arora, MIP Chair and CEO B&M Stores said,
“India and the Greater Manchester region are key partners in each other’s future prosperity and sustainability. As we expect the announcement of the UK India Free Trade Agreement around Diwali next month, this is an opportune time to launch MIP’s refreshed strategy and action plan till 2030. We are enthused and excited to work to strengthen this relationship further.”
Jo Ahmed, MIP Deputy Chair and Partner at Deloitte said, “The year 2022 will be a pivotal moment in the UK-India relationship as the prospect of a Free Trade Agreement draws closer. As a priority international market for Greater Manchester with a burgeoning visitor economy and an Indian student economy that has almost tripled between 2018 and 2021, the refreshed Manchester India Partnership strategy will benefit multiple sectors and provide the platform for the next exciting phase of collaboration between Greater Manchester and India.”