MUMBAI/LONDON: The similar personalities of London and Mumbai should pave the way for greater interaction between the two cities, their first ethnic minority mayor, Sadiq Khan, said in the city.
Khan proposed stronger ties in trade, films production and filming, improving air quality, and tackling climate change. “London and Mumbai have similar personalities, and shared hurdles and aspirations. Greater cultural ties are possible between the two cities. Many popular movies such as Slumdog Millionaire, Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, and Lion were shot in London, and I want to continue inviting the Bollywood fraternity to do pre- and post-production work on their films in London.”
Khan called British Prime Minister Theresa May’s move to tighten visa norms ‘a big mistake’. “I will lobby against all odds to liberalise visa norms, making it easier for Indian students to work in London following their academic degree. The new rules have resulted in students choosing to study in Canada and the United States of America, instead of UK. Students are a great asset to London, not only because of the fees, but also because of the work they bring with them.”
Khan said the purpose of Brexit was to trade with countries like India, which brings more business to the UK than all EU countries put together. “I want to convey that ‘London is open’. The purpose of my visit is to welcome Indians to London, post UK’s exit from the European Union (EU),” he said.
Khan is scheduled to meet Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis on Monday. “There are partnerships in the pipeline with the government, but I cannot announce that right now,” he said.
Khan’s visit to Mumbai forms the first leg of his visit to India, followed by one to Delhi and Amritsar. He will then travel to Pakistan.
Mayor says London is open to Pakistan
London Mayor Sadiq Khan has said that he is proud of the contribution made to the city by Britons of Pakistani descent.
In an interview here over weekend about his upcoming visit to South Asia, he said that he would spend three days in Pakistan.
The politician of Pakistani descent – both his parents were originally from Karachi – would be the first mayor of London to visit both India and Pakistan as he looks to promote closer ties between the two countries and the capitals.
He has announced a six-day tour, visiting Karachi, Lahore, and Islamabad, and Mumbai, Delhi and Amritsar.
Khan said that British Pakistanis made London the greatest city in the world.
“I want to spread the message when I go to Pakistan and India,” he added. “I am already proud of the contribution made to our great city (by) British Pakistanis.”
Khan is of the view that London will remain open to the investment and international students despite the UK’s decision to leave European Union (EU).
“This is really important mission as there are so many areas in which London can work with its counterparts (in) India and Pakistan. Not only in business but in tackling some of the biggest challenges we all face, such as air pollution and climate change,” he said.
Khan said: “My visit to the Subcontinent will show that London is open to talent, open to partnership, open to business, open to study, and above all open to embrace multiculturalism.”
“I will also remind everyone I meet that London will always be a city full of opportunity and one that embraces people of different nationalities, faiths and backgrounds,” he added.
“And that as the Mayor of London I am doing everything within my power to make London as warm, welcoming and accessible to Indian and Pakistani students, business people and entrepreneurs as possible.”
Khan will seek strengthening Pakistan and India’s ties with London given its growing importance to the UK’s tech scene – the top sector for both South Asian countries.
He is expected to meet top business executives as well as prominent figures.
The volume of bilateral trade between the UK and Pakistan is valued at £2bn.