Cumbria’s Chamber of Commerce has joined forces with the British Deputy High Commission in Chennai to help businesses establish trade links with India.

Paul Dryden MBE, a senior diplomat in Chennai – formerly Madras – will chair a round-table discussion with businesses at the Chamber’s office in Carlisle next month.

Rob Johnston, chief executive of Cumbria Chamber of Commerce, said: “UK exports to India grew by 17.3 per cent, to £7.6bn last year but there is potential to do much more.

“India’s population is double the EU’s. It is the world’s sixth-largest economy and the fastest-growing economy in the G20.

“There are historic links with the UK, English is an official language and, in the last two years, India has risen from 130 to 77 in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business rankings.

“In many ways it’s an ideal market for UK businesses looking to widen their horizons after Brexit.”

Paul Dryden is the deputy head of mission and head of trade at the British Deputy High Commission in Chennai.

His remit covers the states of Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Pondicherry, which have a combined population of 104m.

Rob added: “Key sectors there include textiles, healthcare, automotive parts – especially electric vehicles – and green energy.

“As you might expect in a fast growing economy, there are a number of large infrastructure projects coming on stream in which British companies are heavily involved.

“Paul will talk about the opportunities in South India as well as barriers to doing business and how to overcome them.

“He is keen to build links between Cumbrian businesses and Indian companies that are seeking UK partners in their field.”

The session will take place on Tuesday October 1.

Businesses interested in attending should email

India is home to a quarter of the world’s population aged under 25 and is tipped to be the globe’s largest economy by 2030.

According to the World Bank, the top 10 exports from the UK to India include, machinery and mechanical components and beverages and spirits.