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The Scottish Government India Plan

DescriptionThe Scottish Government's India Plan recognises the need for closely targeted activity to maximise the economic opportunities and focuses on four key areas - tourism, education and science, trade and investment, and cultural links.
Official Print Publication Date
Website Publication DateMarch 23, 2010

India flagThe Scottish Government's International Framework recognised India as a fast-developing market, and committed Ministers to developing a more strategic approach to work with India.

India's growing status as a global economic power is well documented, with governments and businesses across the world seeking to develop links with a country which is currently the world's twelfth largest economy by market exchange rates, and the fourth largest in purchasing power parity terms after the US, China and Japan.

Scotland's historic and modern links with India are already strong - in education, business, tourism, and culture, a strong collaborative relationship has already built up between our two countries. India is our second biggest international market for further and higher education students; and between 2005 and 2008 around 3,000 Indian graduates decided to stay and work in Scotland under our Fresh Talent scheme. Scottish Development International has recently expanded its presence in India to help meet the potential for developing trade and investment links; Indian tourism generated £25m for Scotland in 2006; and recent cultural collaborations have showcased our connections in areas such as literature, music and film.

In consultation with key stakeholders and delivery partners from the public, private and third sector in both India and Scotland, we have considered what role the Government has to play in making the most of these opportunities to develop links with India, in a way that helps contribute to the Government's purpose of sustainable economic growth for Scotland.

In the current economic climate, our focus is on how we can target the resources at our disposal to co-ordinate and add momentum to current activity being taken forward between Scotland and India. Four sectors have been identified as having most potential for collaboration, and the work programme below sets out the actions the Government will be taking, together with Scottish Development International and VisitScotland, to contribute to the strengthening of links between Scotland and India.

While this work focuses on how a strengthening relationship with India can contribute towards Scotland's economic growth, the Government is also currently building on its international development activity and its work to build sustainable livelihoods for some of the most vulnerable people in parts of South Asia. India is one of the countries included in the first call for applications.

Similarly, this work does not focus directly on the Government's international climate change activity, but through its contact with the international community, including India, Scotland is acting as a model of international best practice to promote ambitious action on climate change.

What do we want to achieve?

Improve the contribution that relationships with India make towards the Government's Purpose of increasing Scotland's sustainable economic growth by:

  • Creating the conditions for talented people in India to live, learn, visit, work and remain in Scotland; and to create opportunities for talented people in Scotland to do the same in India
  • Bring a sharp economic growth focus to the promotion of Scotland in India
  • Managing Scotland's reputation with the Indian community, at home and abroad, as a distinctive global identity, an independent minded and responsible nation, confident of its place in the world

How are we going to help do this?

  • Focus activity on the four key areas of trade and investment; education and science; tourism and culture
  • Work with Scottish Development International to build on the stronger Scottish presence in India in the context of the SDI India work programme
  • Help organisations developing work with India to foster links with each other for more effective, joined-up activity
  • Build Governmental relations to help endorse and initiate activity between Scotland and India
  • Where appropriate provide targeted support for projects that sustainably build links between Scotland and India in the four key sectors
  • Raise awareness of the modern and historic links between Scotland and India

What does this mean in practice?

The Scottish Government will:

  • Develop a programme of two-way Ministerial visits to India to promote links and help initiate activity, building on the visit of the Minister for Culture, External Affairs and Tourism in October 2009
  • Build on Scottish Development International's recent expansion in India to develop the offices in Mumbai and Delhi as focal points of support for Government and Scottish activity in India
  • Hold an annual networking meeting for stakeholders, and regularly disseminate information about stakeholder activity
  • Work with the UK Government to co-ordinate activity with India where possible
  • Continue to work closely with the Indian Consulate General in Scotland to develop links with the Indian Government, and ensure that the knowledge, experiences and enthusiasm of the Indian community in Scotland is appropriately reflected in activity
  • Raise the profile of Scotland-India links through focussed events celebrating our cultural connections and find new opportunities for collaboration
  • Explore the potential for expanding the air route infrastructure between Scotland and India in the medium to long term
  • Work to identify and engage with relevant sections of Scottish diaspora in India to raise the profile of Scotland as a place to live, visit, do business, study and work
  • Build on the legacy of Homecoming Scotland 2009 by integrating the existing Homecoming themes into our international reputation strategy and exploiting opportunities to enhance Scotland's reputation in India in order to achieve economic benefit for Scotland

Trade and Investment

Scottish Development International, working on behalf of Scottish Ministers in India will:

  • Focus its activities on the primary target sectors of energy, finance and business services, life sciences and education.

In doing so, SDI India will:

  • position Scotland as Europe's leading centre for knowledge, innovation, research and development
  • develop deeper relationships with existing Indian investors and key potential investors
  • scope new opportunities in emerging technologies and markets

in order to identify and secure high value foreign direct investment (FDI) and trade opportunities for Scottish organisations.

Furthermore, SDI India will work closely with partners & stakeholders, including Government agencies, universities, research institutes and industry representative bodies to identify collaborative research opportunities and leverage funding to facilitate the delivery of such projects.

  • Focus on working with the leading Indian companies in each priority sector, to develop and secure trade and investment for Scotland
  • Work to maximise the opportunities for developing business links flowing from the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi
  • Develop a Scottish business network, encompassing GlobalScots and other relevant and interested individuals in India to help support SDI's knowledge of the Indian market and provide direct support to Scottish organisations looking to develop business connections with India

Education and Science

The Scottish Government will:

  • Build on the 2007/2008 pilot of a dedicated Education Team within Scottish Development International to ensure continued support for Scottish higher and further institutions looking to develop international links, and support the aims of the Fresh Talent initiative. The Indian market is the primary focus for the team in 2009/10
  • Work with the SDI education team to undertake a range of projects set out in its India Country plan, namely:
    - Support the collaborations flowing from the signing of the memorandum of understanding between Universities Scotland and the Association of Indian Universities
    - Develop links with India's National Institutes of Technology
    - Develop a partnership between SDI and the Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) to consolidate the relationship developed so far and develop an action plan to promote collaborations in the higher and further education sector
  • Support institutions to work together to raise the profile of the Scottish education sector and Scotland as a destination to live, learn and work
  • Develop the current scholarship offer for Indian students primarily through promotion of the new programme of Scotland's Saltire Scholarships by providing match funding awards with Scottish universities to Masters students from India
  • Develop existing links with the UK Indian Education and Research Initiative, and the Prime Minister's Initiative 2 programme
  • Work with SDI to support activity flowing from the new memorandum of understanding between the Scottish Government and the Indian Ministry of New and Renewable Energy to help facilitate research and industry collaborations


VisitScotland, working on behalf of Scottish Ministers will:

  • Focus on high value tourism, including development of business tourism and the convention market through direct promotion to the corporate sector, and the development of the friends and relations of students market
  • Work with VisitBritain to develop a strong strategic brand positioning for Scotland within both UK propositions and stand-alone Scottish activity
  • Continue to build strategic relations with the appropriate travel associations of India in order to increase the promotion of Scotland products within their networks
  • Support Indian tour operators and travel agents to increase their knowledge of Scotland as a destination and the tourism product offered by Scottish tourism businesses
  • Encourage partnership activity between the Scottish and Indian travel trades to help promote Scotland more effectively in India


The Scottish Government will:

  • Help connect and support cultural activity that celebrates and develops the links between Scotland and India, including the connection between Sir Patrick Geddes and Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore on the 150th anniversary of the latter's birth in 2011
  • Work with representatives of the Scottish film industry to develop links with the Indian film industry to demonstrate Scotland's potential for film production and showcase Indian film as part of modern Scottish culture
  • Work with Creative Scotland in its proposed international role as Scotland's lead arts and culture advocate, Culture and Sport Glasgow and other partners across Scotland to ensure the cultural programme developed around the Delhi Commonwealth Games 2010 and the Glasgow Commonwealth Games 2014 effectively celebrates and develops the cultural links between Scotland and India
  • Develop the involvement of Scotland's Indian community in cultural activity, including e.g. the provision of Expo funding to the Edinburgh Mela

Implementation and Evaluation

This effectively constitutes a high level action plan for work that will form the basis of the Government's activity with India for the period of the current administration. However, we are clear that we are developing a long-term relationship with India, and the document also sets the direction for our aspirations in supporting Scottish engagement with India and the Scottish Government's wider aims and objectives as articulated through the International Framework.

The Government is committed to transparency and openness in terms of the implementation of this activity, and the Minister for Culture and External Affairs will provide the European and External Relations Committee with an annual update on the progress made in delivering this work.

The annual review will:

  • present an update against each action point, listing and summarising the activities of the Scottish Government
  • evaluate available performance management information gathered as part of the Scottish Government's activities in relation to India