Britain offered tremendous business and investment opportunities for Indian companies, especially for Small and medium enterprises (SMEs), which were driving the economy in both countries, said British Deputy High Commissioner in southern India Mike Nithavrianakis.

He was addressing a session on ‘Doing business with the United Kingdom' organised here on Monday by the Madurai Zone of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).

The economic crisis resulted in decline of the gross domestic product (GDP) of United Kingdom by six per cent. However, the economy had begun to pick up with plenty of opportunities coming up. The London Olympics in 2012 would throw up 2 billion Pounds-worth sub-contracts.

The UK was a leader in inventing new medicines as it had a lot of investments in research and development in specialist universities. The National Health Service was one of the biggest employers in the world alongside Indian Railways and Chinese People's Liberation Army.

Advanced engineering was also a strong point with Britain being the sixth largest manufacturer globally. Six out of top 10 car companies had business in U.K. Also, 19 out of top 20 auto component manufacturers had offices or did business in the U.K.

United Kingdom had been one of the largest trading partners of India, he said, adding that it was a balanced two-way trade. The four southern States were attractive destinations for UK to do business as they had a stable political environment and good infrastructure, he added.

R. Dinesh, Joint Managing Director, TVS and Sons, recollected the expeditious approval that his company got during its acquisition of a British company. Despite the fact that the company being acquired was supplying material to the Department of Defence, TVS was able to get security clearance fairly early, he said.

There was a significant cross-border business opportunities, including technology transfers, joint operations and production under license, he said.

Aravind Srinivasan, chairman of CII-Madurai Zone, said that south Tamil Nadu, with over 20 million people in seven districts, had global aspirations. With over 40,000 engineering students graduating every year, it provided the human resource for Bangalore and Chennai.