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Ireland and India are open for business

The Indian Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, made a brief visit to Ireland in September, 2015 and meets with the Taoiseach and with representatives of the 30,000-strong Indian community based in Ireland.

This trip was the first visit by an Indian Prime Minister since Jawaharlal Nehru, India's first Prime Minister, visited Ireland in 1956. The historic links between the two nations were forged around a strong sense of the two countries aspiring to and eventually gaining independence, but now there is an opportunity to renew stronger ties based on trade and investment between two knowledge based economies.

India presents an opportunity to boost Irish exports to the India. Perhaps it requires policy focus and dedication which Ireland has successfully invested in other trading partners in different parts of the world.

In the present time, neither Ireland nor India is a significant trading partner of the other. But present huge opportunities in Information Technology, Pharmaceuticals, Dairy & Agro, Aviation, Education and Service Sectors.

Bilateral trade between India and Ireland touched US $ 1.2 billion in 2014-15 as compared to US$972 million in 2013-14. As compared to 2013-14, exports from India to Ireland increased by 83.34% (total US $ 760 million) and imports registered a decrease of 4.51% (total US $ 533 million). Main items of Indian exports to Ireland include textiles, garments and clothing accessories, pharmaceuticals, light engineering goods and chemicals. Major items of Irish exports to India include telecommunications equipment, computer accessories, precision equipment and pharmaceuticals.

If the trend continues, we are likely to see record export figures to the sub-continent by the end of 2017.

Indian market is also reflected in the number of Irish household names who invested there including Glanbia, CRH and PM Group, as well as Indian companies such as HCL Technologies,  Tata Consultancy Services, Tech Mahendra set up here, supporting an estimated 4000 jobs.

Prime Minister Modi has brought about some reforms, in particular reducing the red tape required to both set up and run a business, and there are ambitious plans for physical and digital infrastructure development, public housing and the development of smart cities. As a result of the Skills India programme, education is a key area for development with further key sectors including ICT, Medical Devices, Agri-Tech and Aviation, Power and Railway etc.