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London mayor appoints Parekh as first ‘international ambassador’

London mayor Sadiq Khan today announced the capital’s first dedicated ‘international ambassador,’ tasked with promoting investment opportunities.

Prominent Indian businessman Deepak Parekh will take up the position, prompting Khan to call for a closer relationship between London and India.

The role of the new ambassadors will be to work closely with the Greater London Authority (GLA) and London & Partners to share information about the city across the world, while providing market intelligence to London-based businesses.

They will form a network rather than a working group, with no formal meetings but all members invited to attend an annual gathering in London.

“I am delighted that Deepak Parekh has agreed to become the first member of my International Ambassadors Network,” Khan commented. “As a highly respected Indian business figure, his experience and profile will be invaluable as we build on the excellent relations that we already have with India.

“Now, more than ever, I am working to ensure the world knows that London is an outward-looking city that embraces talent and entrepreneurship and welcomes people from all corners of the world. I know that Deepak shares that view of London and will do all he can to promote London as a truly global city.”

Parekh is the chairman of one of India’s major housing finance companies, HDFC, as well as sits on the boards of a number of other firms.

He is also a member of the City of London’s Advisory Council for India, which guides the capital’s dealings with the Asian country. In 2010, he became the first international recipient of the Outstanding Achievement Award by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales.

Responding to the announcement, Parekh said: “India and the UK have intertwined histories and London has been at the pivot of the social, demographic and economic upsurge between the two democracies.

“I am indeed honoured to be the first International Ambassador with an aim to promote fair and progressive relations between India and London as the city navigates the next many decades.”

More ambassadors are expected to be announced by the mayor in the coming months.

Top image: Yui Mok PA Wire

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