India's IT firms urged to look to UK

Britain will use the Bangalore trade show to strengthen technology links between India and the UK

E-commerce minister Stephen Timms is set to become the latest UK politician to urge Indian tech firms to invest in Britain.

Timms will open the British stand at Bangalore -- Asia's largest IT trade fair -- next week. During his visit he will meet with Indian politicians as well as visiting the several UK firms with operations in India.

The key message of the UK delegation is that Indian IT firms who are looking overseas should chose the UK ahead of the US and Continental Europe.

"India is the second largest Asian investor in the UK, has a strong technology skills base and the IT sector is growing by 50 percent each year. The stand at Bangalore will showcase the UK as a robust and relevant investment alternative to the US and the rest of Europe," said Timms in a statement.

"I hope that my visit will reinforce the already well-established links, and especially encourage business to explore the potential in the UK-India technology market," Timms added.

Visiting the conference in Bangalore is becoming a regular event for UK politicians.

Douglas Alexander, who Timms replaced as e-commerce minister, attended the show last year and said more Indian software companies should open offices in the UK in order to access the European market. E-minister Patricia Hewitt visited the show in November 2000.

Both Hewitt and Alexander used their visits to encourage India's IT professionals to move to the UK. Some IT experts welcomed this move as a way of solving Britain's skills shortage, but others claimed that the UK government has played a part in creating the problem through lack of investment and its controversial IR35 legislation.

For a round-up of the latest tech business coverage, see the Business News Section.

Have your say instantly, and see what others have said. Go to the ZDNet news forum.

Let the editors know what you think in the Mailroom.