India and Greater Manchester have had a thriving partnership for many years – with more than 50,000 people from the Indian diaspora calling the region home – and plans are underway to strengthen this even further. Both have ambitions, expertise and capabilities which overlap neatly to create the ideal conditions for business and cultural growth between the two, for the benefit of all.
Commenting on the potential of the relationship, the Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, said: “India is a key market in Greater Manchester’s internationalisation strategy as it presents significant opportunities to the city-region, but these opportunities are mutual, and Greater Manchester is also helping India with its own economic growth plans.”
The Manchester India Partnership (MIP)
The Manchester India Partnership (MIP) is a bilateral trade organisation which was created in February 2018 to build and strengthen trade, investment, cultural, and educational links. This ground-breaking public-private partnership capitalising on global trade, tourism and academic opportunities between Manchester and India, was presented with a Special Recognition Award at a star-studded ceremony on Friday 22 June for the second annual UK-India Awards.
In October 2018, representatives from MIP and MIDAS, Greater Manchester’s inward investment agency, delivered two concurrent events in India; promoting the city-region’s strengths in digital innovation and advanced materials.
Manchester is the UK’s largest digital hub after London, and has a world-leading reputation for creativity and innovation. The wealth of digital talent in the region and the business friendly operational costs have led to companies such as Tech Mahindra opening offices in the city and strengthening ties with India.
Two events have also been held in India – one in Pune, one in Bangalore – to demonstrate Manchester’s strength in the advanced materials and manufacturing sector. Senior figures from some of India’s largest industrial companies were shown how they can leverage Manchester’s material research and innovation expertise by Graphene@Manchester and MIDAS – this included a showcase on the potential of graphene, a product discovered in Manchester that has the potential to change the world.
The educational links between India and the UK are extremely strong, and Greater Manchester is a leader in the field. It is estimated that 25% of all overseas students in the region come from India, and the University of Manchester is home to the Indian Society of Manchester which helps students feel at home from day one, as well as organising social and cultural events for anyone with an interest in India.
Greater Manchester’s universities perform highly in all areas and are perfect for career-focussed Indian students looking for a world-class education experience. The graduate skills they can learn in Manchester, as well as the opportunities to integrate with local businesses, make the region an attractive and affordable choice.
Mayor Andy Burnham has highlighted the educational benefits available to Indians in Greater Manchester, saying: “Greater Manchester can support Indian upskilling through its academic institutions and businesses. It can also benefit from the knowledge exchange by attracting the best Indian students and workers to contribute to its growing skills-based economy.
“Notable progress on this front includes the University of Bolton’s partnership with the Karnataka State Higher Education Board and the University of Salford’s partnership with the Indian Institute of Management Bangalore, one of Asia’s leading business schools.”
Indian companies in Manchester
India is a key market for the Greater Manchester region, and Greater Manchester is also helping India with its own economic growth. Indeed, the economic value of Manchester’s relationship with India has been estimated as being worth up to £400m over the next five years.
Some of the most successful Indian companies operating in Manchester include:
The sporting links between Manchester and India deepen every year. The biggest step forward in recent years is the purchase of Mumbai City FC by the City Football Group (CFG). Manchester City FC have become the dominant force of English football over the last decade, but their ambitions are global. By bringing Mumbai City FC into the CFG, Indian football will be able to benefit from all of the resources of one the biggest football group in the world to continue its development – and it is all based in Manchester.
Khaldoon Al Mubarak, Chairman of the City Football group, said: "We believe that this investment will deliver transformative benefits to Mumbai City FC, to City Football Group and to Indian Football as a whole."
Manchester is also a world-famous cricketing city, giving it a natural affinity with India. This was demonstrated in 2019 when more than 700,000 people applied for tickets to watch India vs Pakistan at the Emirates Old Trafford cricket ground during the ICC World Cup. 70% of those enquiries came from India.
The respect Greater Manchester holds for Indian culture can be seen in the development of the North of England’s first large-scale gallery of South Asian history which is being created at the Manchester Museum. Designed to be a repository of heritage as well as a performance space, the new gallery will showcase live music, dance and performances inspired by South Asia. It is expected to be complete in 2021.
And last but not least, Manchester has some of the finest Indian cuisine to be found in the UK – a heritage that stretches back to the Industrial revolution. The ‘curry cafes’ founded by the Indian textile workers of the past can still be found throughout the city centre, and Rusholme’s ‘Curry Mile’ is one of the biggest collections of curry houses in Europe.
Whether you are looking for classic street food, high end Indian fine dining or modern British-Indian twists on Indian staples, Manchester has it all.