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Sadiq Khan, Labour’s candidate for Mayor of London, in a speech to the Indian Institute of Directors on London’s links with India, said:
It’s a pleasure to be here with you today.
Can I extend a warm welcome to all of you visiting us here in London
It’s only a matter of weeks since I was selected as Labour’s candidate for next year’s Mayor of London election.
And it's fitting that it's here at the Institute of Directors conference that I'm speaking.
Because I'm unashamedly determined to be the most pro-business Mayor London has ever had.
This great city is built on trade.
It's openness to people, ideas and commerce has for centuries been the engine of growth that propelled London - and the U.K. - to its position as one of the world’s most important markets
Indeed, in a world that's increasingly globalised and interconnected, London has cemented its position as the pre-eminent, most international city on the planet.
But it's absolutely crucial we don't rest on our laurels.
Time stands still for no one
Plenty of other cities would love to knock London off its perch
Others are enviously eyeing the global companies headquartered in London and the strength of our financial markets.
That's why this conference is so crucial.
Bringing together business leaders from across the globe here in London.
And, in particular, those of you from India.
A country that by its sheer scale is somewhere that can't afford to be taken for granted.
Yes, Britain and India share a long history.
Economic, political and cultural links are strong.
But a past together doesn't automatically mean a future together.
I'm also acutely aware that our shared history has not always been harmonious.
My own family’s history mirrors some of these times.
My grandparents emigrated from India to Pakistan at the difficult time of Partition
And my parents emigrated from Pakistan to London in the 1960s, just as many Indian families did.
Interestingly I'm the first Khan in three generations who has no intention of going anywhere.
Other than to City Hall next May.
Nowadays our two countries have a more mature relationship.
Politically, culturally and economically.
It's about more than just tea and cricket.
The UK is a major destination of choice for many Indians seeking to study at our top-class universities.
More than 20,000 Indians chose to study here – many of them in London.
Nearly two million Brits are of Indian decent.
And they are renowned for their entrepreneurship and ingenuity.
They might constitute only two per cent of the population but they make up five per cent of GDP.
And, economically, the relationship goes from strength to strength.
We are the third largest investors in each other's countries.
Indian companies in the UK generated over £19billion for the UK economy.
Bilateral trade has tripled in a decade.
Also, Indian firms employ more than 100,000 people in the UK.
Tata group alone employs over 55,000 people
In fact the UK is the Indian business location of choice.
As a Londoner born and bred, the prospect of becoming Mayor of this fantastic city is an enormous privilege.
It's an amazingly diverse and tolerant city with people of all skin colours, faiths and nationality.
Areas like Southall and Harrow with large Indian communities.
But countless other communities, from every corner of the globe.
I'm proud to call it home
There’s so much my family and I owe London.
The opportunities it gave me mean I’m able to stand in front of you today.
A council house when I was growing up providing a secure roof over my head.
And allowing my parents to save up a deposit to buy their own home.
A good state school and university education based on my academic ability, not my ability to pay.
Training as a human rights lawyer and running my own firm.
Elected as the MP for my home area.
But my mission as Mayor is to restore those same opportunities to all Londoners.
To address the scandal of growing inequality.
I'm worried too many people can't afford a decent home and struggle to access jobs
That too many can't afford to get around on the city's transport system or are choking on the filthy air.
And this matters to business.
If we're to make sure London continues to be an engine of growth then we need the affordable homes for your workers to live in.
We want a city with a first class but affordable transport system.
And business wants to be in a city that's green and pleasant.
And I know that tackling inequality and restoring opportunity can only be achieved through business creating the jobs and wealth in London.
And that's why, as Mayor, I'll bang the drum for London across the globe.
I'll promote the city as a destination for foreign investment and a home for overseas companies.
And I'll help seek out new markets for London businesses.
Within a year of next May’s election, India will celebrate 70 years of independence.
What a great opportunity to strengthen the links with London, and the UK.
I can see the enormous potential for London's insurance, pension and financial markets.
Already British banks lend more to India than any other country - but with a mushrooming middle class swelling to over 300 million, this market is only going to get bigger.
And I determined to do all I can to maximise that for the benefit for both sides.
We need to be improving air links between London and India.
Improved air capacity in and around London is crucial to this, which is why I favour a new runway at Gatwick.
And I hope Air India will bring back the London – Ahmedabad route, which will be good for trade.
Instead of making it more difficult for Indian students to come to UK universities, I want to make it easier.
I want London to be the destination of choice for the brightest and the best and, selfishly, I want London to be a place Indian graduates want to stay, work, set up companies and contribute to the life of this great city.
As Mayor, I’ll stand up to the silly visa restrictions this Government have placed on students.
Students are not immigrants, and it’s about time Ministers realized this.
I’m also passionate about greening London, and maximizing the business opportunities that this will provide.
Not just here in London, but abroad.
Many other cities – including those in India – face the same pressures as London in important areas like air quality, water management and clean energy generation.
Companies here need to be getting in on the act in India – the Indian Government’s recent announcement of a 40 per cent carbon reduction is a clear signal to the business opportunities.
I welcome the opportunity to address you this morning.
I hope to have the opportunity to be this great city’s new Mayor next May.
An opportunity to be the most pro-business Mayor the city has ever seen.
Strengthening London’s links with other countries is part and parcel of the role.
It’s a role I’d relish – and India is one of my highest priorities.
I look forward to the prospect of working closely with you all.