When India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited London last year, 60,000 people came to Wembley Stadium to listen to him.
That was the largest reception a foreign leader has ever received on a visit to Britain. And it speaks volumes about the deep ties that exist between Britain and India.
These ties are emotional, historical and, in many cases, familial – but they are also economic and financial.
They explain why David Cameron made India the first country he visited with a major trade delegation when he became Prime Minister in 2010.
They are the reason that Indian finance minister Arun Jaitley announced last month that the first ever Indian “masala” bond will be issued in London by the Indian Railway Finance Corporation, with the proceeds used to upgrade India’s rail network.
Those ties underpin the ambitious package of deals between the UK and India that the chancellor announced at last month’s eighth UK-India Economic and Financial Dialogue, deepening our collaboration across key sectors including financial services, infrastructure and technology.
And they are the reason that we are in India this week, to build on our recent progress and enhance the economic and financial links between our two countries.
Because, while we are rightly proud of the UK and India’s collective successes in recent years, we also believe we are just at the start of a long journey.
India is fast emerging as an economic giant. Already the fastest growing major economy in the world, and projected to be the world’s third biggest economy after the US and China, India has a youthful population of one and a quarter billion people, and notable hubs of expertise in crucial growth sectors such as digital and telecoms.
As its growth story continues, Britain is well-positioned to build an even stronger partnership with India.
By strengthening our economic links with India, further integrating our markets, and deepening the cooperation between our financial services sectors, we can create more jobs, more investment and higher living standards.
Working more closely together is a win-win. The UK invests more in India than any other G20 country, while India is one of the top sources of investment into the UK.
We can also offer India something unique to support its continued growth: the expertise and capital of the most international and advanced financial centre in the world.
This week we are looking forward to developing these links further. The economic ties Britain has with India are already strong and enduring. But we want this visit to mark the start of a chapter of deeper collaboration between our two nations. And we are excited about what, working together, we can achieve.