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UK-India Business Council hails Gujarat growth story

The growth story of Gujarat is the focus of the first edition of the new flagship publication launched by UK India Business Council (UKIBC), a premier London-based organisation that helps British firms do business with India.

Nearly a quarter of the 40-page magazine, a quarterly named UK India Business Exchange, is dedicated to the state. The cover story, titled "Entry to India: Gujarat", not only talks about the social, cultural and economic aspects of Gujarat, but also claims that its economic growth is greater than that of China.

"With its charismatic Chief Minister Narendra Modi tipped by many to be next PM, and even more charismatic brand ambassador, Amitabh Bachchan, Gujarat tends to be the poster child for India. The average annual growth rate over the past five years has been 10.4%, greater than that of China," writes Alpesh Patel, a UKIBC board member in one of the chapters tiled: "The Indian State Growing Faster than China".

The foreword of the magazine meant for readers interested in bilateral trade opportunities between India and UK opens with a "Welcome" in English and Gujarati fonts.

In the Vibrant Gujarat Summit 2013 held in January, UKIBC partnered with the Gujarat government for the first time to promote bilateral trade following the UK government's decision to do business with Narendra Modi after a 10-year hiatus post the 2002 communal riots. UKIBC also took a delegation of 40 UK business leaders to build relations with Gujarat during the summit.

Apart from detailed articles on Gujarati 'farsan' and the culture and festivals of the state, the first edition of the UKIBC magazine also contains a "fact-sheet" on Gujarat written by Peter Beckingham, the British Deputy High Commissioner based in Mumbai. Beckingham not only touches upon the demographic of the state but also lists out the prospective sectors for UK business houses.

One of the chapters titled, "Gujarat: India's premier business destination", carries a two-page interview of Maheshwar Sahu, principal secretary in the state's industries and mines department. One of the contributors to the magazine, Shahid Sheikh, who is also the managing director of Clifton Packaging Group Ltd, writes, "Today, Gujarat can proudly claim to be among the greatest global success stories in terms of infrastructure development and the city (Ahmedabad) is one of the best places to do business in India."

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