Boris Johnson to go up against India’s David Letterman

Before he appears in front of Goswami for the pre-recorded interview, the mayor will visit the Bombay stock exchange, which is Asia's oldest.

During the visit, Mr Johnson is expected to reiterate his desire to see the Indian government continue its efforts to reduce the bureaucracy that restricts some of its private and state-owned companies from listing on overseas exchanges.

He will also confirm that two of India's fastest-growing financial service companies are to establish London-based operations.

He will meet Indian business leaders for breakfast and hold discussions with some of India's wealthiest private investors.

Mr Johnson said: "I believe the time is ripe for India to deregulate and free up its successful public and private sector companies so they too can benefit from London's financial capacity and expertise.

"As well as helping to reduce the burden on the Indian taxpayer, it will also help boost the competitiveness of London's capital market to the benefit of every company listed here. Cutting away this red tape is a win-win for both India and London's respective economies."

The London mayor took a bicycle ride around the Gate of India in Mumbai after visiting the Bombay Stock Exchange

On Thursday he announced that two Bollywood films will be shot in London next year as part of a bid to bring the Indian film industry to the British capital.

He offered tax breaks, co-operation on clearing streets and spoke of "the huge audiences that Indian films have in London."

Producer Sajid Nadiadwala says he will film two film, including the latest in the hugely successful "Housefull" series in London.

Besides "Housefull 3" starring Akshay Kumar, Nadiadwala will shoot "Kick" in London.

Johnson's visit is part of a series of trips he plans over the next 18 months to China, Brazil and the Middle East to attract investment after the successful London Olympics.

Source: PA & AP

Boris Johnson in India: the Mayor of London goes on the charm offensive

28 November 2012: Boris Johnson was left to sit it out in economy class as he played second fiddle to Bollywood megastar Kajol Devgn on the flight from Hyderabad to Mumbai. The London mayor's bandwagon headed to India's trade capital for the final leg of his six-day tour of the country, but with all business class seats taken up by the 38-year-old and her entourage, the mayor was left in economy for the hour-long flight to Mumbai.Picture: Stefan Rousseau/PA

Boris Johnson does the Mobot for charity

Mo Farah's "Mobot" pose has become famous since the athlete used it after both of his gold medal winning performances, in the 10,000m and 5,000m runs.

Farah has swapped his spikes for dancing shoes as he launched his new dance craze to encourage people to throw some shapes for the Mo Farah Foundation, the charity set up by the athlete and his wife Tania, to provide aid to children in East Africa.

The charity hopes to raise £100,000 towards the Mo Farah Orphanage and Sports Academy, a place of safety and shelter for children affected by the worst drought to hit the region in 60 years.

Farah said: “Lots of people I’ve met since the Olympics have said I should do something with the Mobot and to be able to turn it into a dance craze that could have a huge benefit for children in East Africa seems the right thing to do. Making a difference for kids who don’t get the opportunities that I’ve had is a big part of what motivates me. I really hope that people join in and get behind it.”

Virgin Media has pledged to match all ‘Do the Mobot’ video uploads with £2 coins – representing the two gold medals Farah won at this year’s Olympics.

Those uploading their video will also be in with a chance of featuring in the music video to the track which will be released on iTunes this December.

Learn the Mobot with Olympic champion Mo Farah: http://bit.ly/DoTheMobot

'Do The Mobot' by Tigermonkey released Mon Dec 3. Follow on twitter at #DotheMobot

Boris Johnson: ‘venez a Londres, mes amis’ mayor tells tells Indian businessmen

He called French industry minister Arnaud Montebourg, who accused Mr Mittal of leaving the country after he announced the closure of two blast furnaces in the north-eastern region of Florange, an "eccentric", telling an audience of businessmen in Delhi they should avoid "persecution" in Paris and base their European operations in London.

He told a meeting of businessmen in Delhi: "On a day when the sans-culottes appear to have captured the government in Paris and a French minister has been so eccentric as to call for a massive Indian investor to depart from France, I have no hesitation or embarrassment in saying to everyone here 'venez a Londres, mes amis'.

"Come to London, come to the business capital of the world, the place where 73 Indian firms are listed on the London Stock Exchange, where Indian companies already raise 53% of their international equity, a city that has the largest banking and financial sector anywhere in the world, but which is at the cutting edge of all the great growth businesses of the 21st Century."

The sans culottes were a radical faction in the French Revolution.

According to the Financial Times, sources close to Mr Mittal, one of the world's richest men, said he was "extremely shocked" by the attack against the company of which he is the main shareholder.

The newspaper reported that Mr Mittal is meeting François Hollande, the French President, for talks on Tuesday.

Boris Johnson calls for easing of foreign student visa restrictions

The government was right to tighten rules for those who might become a drain on the state, he said, but warned “It’s crazy that we should be losing India’s top talent and the global leaders of the future to Australia and the United States.”

“The most important thing is academic freedom — if people are genuine students and genuinely desire to learn and contribute to the economy there should be a system which allows them to travel from one major centre of learning to another, and that’s what we’re trying to achieve,” he told students and academics at Delhi’s Amity University which announced it was establishing a new 15,000 student campus in London.

In an interview with The Telegraph, he said changes in visa regulations, to limit the amount of time students can remain in Britain to work, had caused a negative impression. “Indians are being put off. It’s a bit of perception [but] too many people have had difficulty. A lot of people raise it with me, students and businessmen too. They need to stay and take up employment more speedily [and for a longer period]. But generally their applications need to be processed faster and we need to be more sympathetic and not shutting off a major source of investment in our education,” he said.

During Boris Johnson's visit to Delhi he handed over the London 2012 Olympic cauldron petals to Indian Olympians (PA)

Until last April, Indian students studying at a British educational establishment were automatically allowed to stay and work for two years after their course ended. But concerns that too many were coming to Britain for dubious courses and staying for low paid jobs led to new rules which allowed longer stays after course completion but only for those with 'graduate level jobs’ on salaries higher than £20,000. These students can stay for three years and can extend for a further six years if they meet the salary requirements.

Mr Johnson told the Home Secretary it was necessary to “shift the debate on student visas away from numerical targets and squarely onto policy based on promoting jobs and growth in the UK. This is why I am supporting a growing, cross-party consensus on removing students from the Government’s net migration target,” he said. He is also calling for a 'Migration Advisory committee’ to conduct a cost-benefit study of international students to the British economy and new measures to protect foreign students against being repatriated if their college loses its license to recruit overseas.

His comments were welcomed by the British Business Group in India which has raised concerns about the changes. “No one can argue that bogus institutions or students should go unchecked. But it is vital for the UK’s prosperity that we are seen as a preferred education partnert for good and genuine Indian students. Our image as an attractive education destination has clearly suffered recently in India,” said Mark Runacres, head of the British Business Group and an educational consultancy.

British officials said the number of Indian undergraduate and postgraduate students had doubled from 2007 to 2011, but it is not yet known whether the new rules have affected those wanting to study in the United Kingdom.

Foreign students: countries sending the most students to the UK (in pictures)

Boris Johnson calls on easing of foreign student visa restrictions

The government was right to tighten rules for those who might become a drain on the state, he said, but warned “It’s crazy that we should be losing India’s top talent and the global leaders of the future to Australia and the United States.”

“The most important thing is academic freedom — if people are genuine students and genuinely desire to learn and contribute to the economy there should be a system which allows them to travel from one major centre of learning to another, and that’s what we’re trying to achieve,” he told students and academics at Delhi’s Amity University which announced it was establishing a new 15,000 student campus in London.

In an interview with The Telegraph, he said changes in visa regulations, to limit the amount of time students can remain in Britain to work, had caused a negative impression. “Indians are being put off. It’s a bit of perception [but] too many people have had difficulty. A lot of people raise it with me, students and businessmen too. They need to stay and take up employment more speedily [and for a longer period]. But generally their applications need to be processed faster and we need to be more sympathetic and not shutting off a major source of investment in our education,” he said.

During Boris Johnson's visit to Delhi he handed over the London 2012 Olympic cauldron petals to Indian Olympians (PA)

Until last April, Indian students studying at a British educational establishment were automatically allowed to stay and work for two years after their course ended. But concerns that too many were coming to Britain for dubious courses and staying for low paid jobs led to new rules which allowed longer stays after course completion but only for those with 'graduate level jobs’ on salaries higher than £20,000. These students can stay for three years and can extend for a further six years if they meet the salary requirements.

Mr Johnson told the Home Secretary it was necessary to “shift the debate on student visas away from numerical targets and squarely onto policy based on promoting jobs and growth in the UK. This is why I am supporting a growing, cross-party consensus on removing students from the Government’s net migration target,” he said. He is also calling for a 'Migration Advisory committee’ to conduct a cost-benefit study of international students to the British economy and new measures to protect foreign students against being repatriated if their college loses its license to recruit overseas.

His comments were welcomed by the British Business Group in India which has raised concerns about the changes. “No one can argue that bogus institutions or students should go unchecked. But it is vital for the UK’s prosperity that we are seen as a preferred education partnert for good and genuine Indian students. Our image as an attractive education destination has clearly suffered recently in India,” said Mark Runacres, head of the British Business Group and an educational consultancy.

British officials said the number of Indian undergraduate and postgraduate students had doubled from 2007 to 2011, but it is not yet known whether the new rules have affected those wanting to study in the United Kingdom.

Foreign students: countries sending the most students to the UK (in pictures)

Boris Johnson in India: London mayor calls for easing foreign student visa restrictions

Speaking ahead of an address to Indian students in Delhi, the London Mayor said new rules introduced last year by ministers to slash the number of bogus colleges sent out the "wrong signal", adding that he feared they would hit the £2.5 billion revenue stream British universities earn from overseas students.

The industry played an important part in subsidising domestic undergraduates, the mayor said, as he announced plans to set up an Education Export Commission with central Government to examine whether foreign students were now choosing to study in the United States, Canada and Australia instead.

Mr Johnson has been a vocal opponent of the new restrictions, which include higher standards of English literacy and refusing overseas graduates the right to stay in the UK unless they can secure a job with a salary above £20,000.

"As I have written several times to the Home Secretary, we need to see a strong statement of welcome to make sure that the visa system is not a deterrent to international students," he said.

"The extra stipulations such as the need to have a salary of up to a certain amount before you are allowed to stay on mean we need to be very careful that we are not doing stuff that actively deters foreign students."

Boris Johnson calls on easing of foreign student restrictions

According to Mr Johnson's figures, the number of Indians applying to study in the UK dropped nine per cent this year and is forecast to fall a further 25 per cent next year. Of the 110,000 foreign students in London alone, 9,000 are from India, where Mr Johnson is spending this week trying to build business links with the capital.

In interviews ahead of a speech to prospective students at Amity University, the equivalent of Oxford or Cambridge, Mr Johnson said he was worried the "mood music" from Whitehall was putting the very best off applying.

He said: "We are going to set up with Government an Education Exports Commission to look at the issue to make sure we get the right message across so that if the Government decides to make changes to the visa regime it doesn't do damage to a sector in which London is so strong and it is so valuable.

"The vast majority of Indian students do get a visa, 75% of them get one pretty much straight off. It's more of a perception at the moment.

During Boris Johnson's visit to Delhi he handed over the London 2012 Olympic cauldron petals to Indian Olympians (PA)

"The policy on visas is, in my view, sending out the wrong signal. There are so many stipulations that we are starting to lose business to Australia, America and Canada.

"As I have written several times to the Home Secretary, we need to see a strong statement of welcome to make sure that the visa system is not a deterrent to international students.

"The extra stipulations such as the need to have a salary of up to a certain amount before you are allowed to stay on mean we need to be very careful that we are not doing stuff that actively deters foreign students and at the moment the policy seems to put people off. Why are we doing this? We shouldn't be losing this market."

He added: "It's very important for our higher education economy that you have foreign students who contribute £2.5 billion a year in fees. Now that helps to subsidise the rest of the university sector – helps to pay for everybody else's education.

"It's a great idea to have a London that is open to that kind of business. I am saying to Government 'Don't do things that is going to cause unnecessary alarm and prejudice against the UK'."

Source: PA

I’ve seen the future in India, and Britain can share the spoils

This is a country of 1.2 billion, set to overtake China as the most populous place on earth – and unlike China, they are all so young. Half the population is under 25. In fact, one in 11 of the entire global population is an Indian under 25. Think of the size of that market, the things they can buy now, the things they will want in the future.

India may have slowed in its frantic growth rate of three years ago – down to a mere 5 per cent from 8 per cent per year. But that is still about five times faster than us or any other EU country. The Indians are young, aspirational, dynamic, democratic, with a gloriously uninhibited press. With the eurozone seemingly heading for a permafrost of gloom, India is the place we should be doing business.

We need to act fast, because we have ground to make up, and we cannot take anything for granted. Young Indians these days are like any other global population that finds itself in the throes of embourgeoisement: they are gripped and excited by America and American brands – Google, Coke, Nike, Starbucks, you name it. The biggest foreign food supplier in India is Domino’s Pizza, an American firm.

Forty years ago – perhaps even 30 years ago – bright young Indians might have thought first of finding a first-rate university education in London; and they still do. But we are facing stiff competition from the US. It is time – humbly but sincerely – to remind young Indian brainboxes and investors of the advantages of the UK.

In the postcolonial epoch, I am afraid trade between our countries had sunk – by 2010 we were doing more business with Sweden! But it is growing again, fast, and the opportunities are immense. Of course we can’t trade on sentiment, or the concept of a “shared history” (a history that will mean little to many Indians under 25); and yet it is still true that there is a natural fit between Britain and India, a cultural and commercial fusion that is growing the whole time.

You can see it in cuisine, where restaurants serving Indian food employ more people in the UK than coal, steelmaking and shipbuilding combined. You can see it in literature, where British publishers introduced such talents as Vikram Seth and Arundhati Roy to the world. There is a fusion in film, where it is not entirely clear whether films like Slumdog Millionaire or Bend It Like Beckham are British or Indian or Brindian. We have more Bollywood films made in London than anywhere else outside India. We have seen the fusion in music, where the bhangra sound was taken from India to Southall, given a bit more of a beat and re-exported to India.

Above all, we can see the fusion in business. Look at the alliance between BP and Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance, or at Vodafone’s takeover of Hutchinson. Or look at that very Jaguar, product of an Indian-owned firm that is made by Brits and exported to China; or look at the JCB 3DX backhoe loader, a British machine made by Indians and exported to Africa.

As India expands, we need to build these partnerships. In the next 20 years, there are perhaps 30 Indian cities that will be putting in metro systems – think of the opportunities for the dozens of British engineering firms currently engaged on Crossrail, the largest such operation in Europe. We have services from law to health care to planning that could be of use to India in its amazing programme of urbanisation.

India should be one of this country’s key partners for all sorts of geostrategic reasons, and David Cameron was dead right to make this his first port of call in 2010. But it is the economic partnerships that offer the most extraordinary prospects. Imagine selling a Jag to one in every 100,000 Indians. That’s a lot of Jags, and a lot of jobs.

Nut cutlet talk harms recovery, says Boris Johnson

Mr Johnson called for an end to such gloomy talk just hours after Mr Cameron said he would continue to take “big, difficult decisions” on the deficit, while helping businesses to grow.

The Prime Minister promised to sweep away rules, reviews and checks that are holding companies back.

The Mayor, who is tipped as a potential future leader, urged the Government to go further in its efforts to support an “age of enterprise” by cutting personal tax rates and exempting new homes from stamp duty.

He told business leaders the Coalition should collect more money from companies such as Google instead of considering “absurd” plans for a mansion tax on individuals. “We should have taxes that are low but fair and it is absurd to be suddenly whacking up taxes on cash-poor people who happen to inhabit expensive houses in London when firms like Google are paying zero,” he said.

“Neither arrangement strikes me as being fair and so Google and co face a very clear choice — they can either change their tax arrangements or do much more to serve our society by visibly taking on 18 to 24-year-olds who are out of work.”

He said high personal tax rates in Britain mean that Andy Murray pays a greater proportion of his winnings to the taxpayer than any tennis player in the world. “I am afraid that high rates of personal taxation are likely to make us less competitive,” he will say.

“In the 19th century London became the biggest and richest city on earth because of its openness to trade and to talent.

“I am worried that we are losing some of that openness at a critical time.”

The Coalition is still considering Lib Dem proposals for higher taxes on the rich. Speaking on the BBC’s Andrew Marr at the weekend, Vince Cable, the Business Secretary, insisted it is being taken seriously at the highest levels of the Government.