Alok Sharma, the Member of Parliament for Reading West, has been appointed as the Prime Minister’s Infrastructure Envoy to India.
Alok took part in the 8th UK-India Economic and Financial Dialogue, held yesterday in Downing Street, led by UK Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne and Finance Minister of India Arun Jaitley, during which Alok’s new role was formally announced.
The Joint Statement by Chancellor Osborne and Minister Jaitley issued after the Dialogue noted the “beginning of a strategic partnership between India and the UK” on matters related to infrastructure.
In respect of Alok’s new role the Joint Statement noted: “Both sides welcomed the recent appointment of Alok Sharma MP as the British Prime Minister’s Infrastructure Envoy, to act as the key contact between our two governments, Indian public and private sector infrastructure companies and British financial practitioners.”
Alok, who spent 20 years advising companies internationally on corporate finance matters before entering Parliament in 2010, was closely involved in discussions between the UK and Indian governments on plans to launch a flagship rupee-denominated bond in London by the Indian Railway Finance Corporation, which was a key announcement by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his visit to the UK November 2015.
Alok was also a part of the UK government team involved in planning for Prime Minister Modi’s UK visit.
Following his appointment Alok said: “I am absolutely delighted to have been appointed by the Prime Minister as his Infrastructure Envoy to India, this is an incredibly exciting role. Prime Minister Modi’s announcement on the Indian railway bond was a strong endorsement of the UK’s position as a leading international financial sector and gained considerable attention amongst the Indian and British business communities.”
Alok continued: “The Indian government has a hugely ambitious programme of infrastructure projects and I look forward to working closely with colleagues in both governments to ensure that we develop rupee-linked debt markets and build closer ties between the UK and Indian capital markets. Ultimately, the aim is to facilitate capital-raising for Indian infrastructure projects in the London market.”
Cabinet Minister Oliver Letwin MP, who heads the Cabinet Office and plays a key role in the UK’s relationship with the Indian government, said: “I am very pleased that the Prime Minister has appointed Alok as his Infrastructure Envoy to India. This is a big role with the potential to make a real difference in significantly enhancing our commercial partnership with India. Prime Minister Modi’s visit to the UK was hugely successful and we want to continue to build on the excellent links and collaborations which exist between both governments.”