And so to India, where the differences and contrasts are startling. On the road from the airport, the expensive cars drive past slums. From the window of ICICI bank’s 11th floor was a panorama of poverty. I was there for breakfast with top Indian businessmen and women.
For the first half an hour they told me of their investments in the UK. We discussed barriers to more Indian investment. It turns out India is the third biggest source of FDI into Britain. Only later did we get on to the investment going the other way. And, they explained, trying to divide the two is increasingly difficult. A pharmaceuticals boss who has bought a Huddersfield factory told me how business was up in India because of the foothold in England, but business was up in Huddersfield too, as their costs had been brought down by the restructuring. This is globalisation in action.
From breakfast to the stock exchange. It’s the third biggest in the world by volume of trades – bigger than London. And there is no concentration of brokers – the members of the exchange trade from over 300 Indian cities. That’s what some predicted would happen in the internet age. And it is: in India.
The scale of this place takes your breath away. Last month, Indian railways placed a job ad for 48,000 vacancies. That’s the size of a small town. They had 7 million applicants. The whole population of the North West.
And on to meet David Cameron, and accompany him as he opened a factory outside Pune. He’s blogging, too. The ceremony, of dancing girls, elephants and dancing diggers was like I had never seen before. And the factory is another mark of globalisation. More jobs for locals, working with Indian and British management and technicians, for the Indian and export market.
Finally to dinner with business leaders. The end of my first day in India. What an experience!