Can the UK Improve its Relationship with India?

Matthew MacLachlan

6 Aug 2010

The UK’s Prime Minister David Cameron recently went to India on a mission to try to reduce trade barriers in banking, insurance, defence, manufacturing and legal services. While he had hopes of discussing business opportunities between the two countries, India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had hopes of speaking about reconciliation with the Taliban. Has Cameron managed to create a successful connection with his Indian counterparts? Will India agree to collaborate more closely with the British?

Concentrating on restoring a close relationship with India is a fundamental step towards increased business opportunities between the two countries. Cameron could not afford to make any mistakes because having a closer relationship with India can significantly expand the English market and create new job opportunities.

For example, TATA is an extremely large global competitive conglomerate that bought British companies Jaguar and Land Rover. This acquisition is representative of the rapidly increasing number of sophisticated and affluent investors in India. However, because of the high potential of profitable relationships with Indian companies, many other countries are competing for the same opportunities. When doing business in India it is therefore crucial to know how to make the best impression on your Indian counterparts and build strong profitable relationships.

British high-street retailers such as Marks & Spencer and Debenhams have done surprisingly well. For M&S the trick was to collaborate with another company, Reliance Industries, whose knowledge of the Indian market was indispensable to their success. Their decision to work with a company with experience in India was very beneficial as it helped M&S to consider some of the many cultural factors that can impact doing business with Indian counterparts such as negotiation styles, working preferences and communication styles.

For example, when negotiating in India it is crucial to avoid using sarcasm, asking direct questions that require a yes or no answer, or appearing too aggressive. Cross cultural awareness training courses such as Communicaid’s Doing Business in India programme can help you to understand the key cultural differences to ensure that these do not become barriers to your progress in India. By providing you with cultural knowledge, skills and strategies, cross cultural trainingcan help you ensure your business thrives abroad.

India is a vast market offering a plethora of growing opportunities for British organisations to actively engage with. However India is an extremely competitive market and home to a culture that highly values relationships. Only employees, global leaders and politicians like David Cameron who have excellent interpersonal skills and a high level of cultural awareness will have a chance at long-term success in the Indian market.

 



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