Ficci reconstitutes India-UK forum of parliamentarians

New Delhi, Nov 7 (IANS) Ficci has reconstituted the India-UK Forum of Parliamentarians coinciding with British Prime Minister Theresa Mays three-day official visit to India from November 6 to 8, the industry chamber said here on Monday.

According to the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Ficci), this as an important initiative to cement bilateral ties through a track-two mode.

The forum — launched with the objective to strengthen parliamentary diplomacy that binds India and the UK — brings together members of parliament across political ideologies, age groups and gender.

“In the light of recent developments in Europe, the relevance of greater cooperation between India and Britain has greatly enhanced. Social and civilisational values like democracy, universal fraternity, open economy and desire to engage for mutual benefits are common to both,” said Vinay Sahasrabuddhe, Chairman of the forum who is Rajya Sabha member and scholar.

Under the forum, the industry association plans to organise a series of policy dialogues on topics of critical significance to India and the UK, including the proposed FTA (free-trade agreement), post Brexit developments and deliberations on the India-UK Strategic Partnership.

An outbound delegation to the UK is being planned for early 2017 to engage with the British Parliament, diaspora and industry, the industry chamber said.

“As India’s national industry association, Ficci has a multi-pronged international outreach strategy. Through the India-UK Forum of Parliamentarians, our endeavour is to supplement traditional channels of engagement by creating a track two dialogue process to build greater understanding between elected representatives of India and the UK in a cordial atmosphere and a neutral platform,” said Harshavardhan Neotia, President of Ficci.

“In the coming months, we look forward to rolling out a series of initiatives under the able guidance of Dr. Sahasrabuddhe,” he said.

The industry chamber has similar bilateral Forums of Parliamentarians with strategic partner countries such as the US, Germany and Japan to facilitate a “track two” mechanism for wider exchange of views and experiences amongst elected representatives from India and their peers in other countries on bilateral and global issues, leadership and the institution of democracy.