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Country Guide: India

India is a culturally diverse country with a wide number of languages spoken and traditions practiced. As the world’s fifth largest economy and predicated to soar to third place by 2050, it offers exceptional opportunity for partnership with British businesses. Respect for diversity, hierarchy and cultural nuances should help UK traders succeed.  

Key Export Opportunities:

  • Technology including telecoms, AI, cloud technologies and financial technologies  

  • Consumer goods: including appliances, leisure items and clothing  

  • Professional services, including financial, legal and education  

Top Tips for Doing Business in India

Get your greeting right
Always greet the most senior person first and use their formal title unless they have specified otherwise. Whilst many individuals will greet you with a handshake, others might greet you with the phrase namaste and palms pressed together with a slight bow. Some small talk is encouraged before beginning business discussions.  

Negotiations take time
Business negotiations can take longer than is typical in the west. Don’t be surprised if meetings start or end late. Ensure you’re punctual, however.  

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Never say no
In India, the word ‘no’ can portray offence. Instead, Indian businesspeople might say things like ‘we shall see’ or ‘yes, but it might be difficult.’ It’s important, therefore to be able to read between the lines and watch for visual cues when negotiating in India 

Hierarchy is key
Indian companies generally follow a hierarchical structure, with the key stakeholders at the top making key decisions. This is important to bear in mind when seeking decisions. Ensure you are speaking to someone with the authority to sign off on a particular deal.  

India at a Glance


Projected Economy 2030



Hindi, English

Business Languages

GMT +5h30

Time zone


Standard VAT/

GST Rates

Trade at a Glance


Largest UK Export Market


Largest UK Import Market


Ease of Doing Business Rank (2019)


Projected Import Market 2030


Largest Outward FDI Markets


Largest Import FDI Markets


World Bank - Export of Goods and Services (% of GDP)


World Bank - Import of Goods and Services (% of GDP)

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Trade negotiations are currently ongoing with India in an attempt to agree upon a landmark trade agreement. If the UK and India are able to agree upon an agreement which builds upon the already strong trading relationship, then trade with India can potentially catapulted and become one of the UK's strongest and most profitable trading partners.

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