In 2019 the UK exported £8 billion of goods and services to India and imported £16 billion. Despite India having nearly 20% of the world’s population, it took 1.1% of UK exports. Given the historical ties between the countries (albeit many of them negative, given that India was controlled by the British Empire), the UK’s poor trade performance in India seems odd.
An insight into this comes from Royal Enfield bikes, a British institution between 1899 and 1970. Despite having set up a successful factory in India, UK-based Royal Enfield went into liquidation in 1970. By 1977, instead of the UK exporting bikes, it imported Royal Enfields from India. In 1994 Enfield was bought by its current owners, India’s Eicher Group.
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