Lord Mayor of London David Wootton has applauded the recent reform initiatives undertaken by the Central Government, saying that the opening of insurance would help the under-capitalised sector.

In an interview with The Hindu here on Tuesday, Mr. Wootton said: “Reforming the insurance sector would allow for more investment from non-Indian insurance players. In due time, we hope for more reforms. ”

The Mayor, who was in India on a three-day trip, had a series of meetings with government officials and ministers, including Finance Minister P. Chidambaram, Commerce, Industry and Textiles Minister Anand Sharma and Urban Development Minister Kamal Nath, before coming to Chennai to meet with the Chief Secretary of Tamil Nadu and several industrialists.

Indian banks

Pointing out that there were over 65 companies raising equity on the London Stock Exchange and that the number of Indian banks operating in London had gone up, he said: “Indian investments in London are very significant. Just look at what Tata has done with Jaguar Land Rover. The automotive industry was one we had almost turned our back on. I think this proves London is ready to offer a lot to India.”

“Apart from corporations, London’s strength in different sectors such as urban regeneration and transport can benefit major infrastructure projects in India. I believe this can be mutually beneficial. Jaguar Land Rover’s performance has helped boost Tata’s profits here in India,” Mr. Wootton said.

About the move to allow foreign direct investment into multi-brand retail, Mr. Wootton said that a number of British retailers already sourced textiles and clothing from India, but warned that there would not be a great rush of retailers to India.

“While I can definitely see British retail coming in, they will mostly wait and see and do whatever suits the Indian market,” he said.

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