India’s economy continues to grow fast, driven by a cutting-edge and globally competitive knowledge-driven services sector that employs India’s brightest and best. Narendra Modi, arrives in the UK today for an official visit. The express intent for both parties is to enhance trade ties between our countries.

For the UK security sector, India holds some interesting opportunities. Airport security spending is expected to total USD 3.2 bn by the end of 2016, there is a planned police modernisation programme worth USD 2 bn and security services to the India’s banking and financial sectors are expected to reach USD 800 million annually. There are other reasons for the UK to get involved. English is spoken widely and we have a common legal and administrative history. India can also be a gateway to other South East Asian markets.

However, operating in India doesn’t come without its challenges. It is a vast country and the market varies widely across its many different regions and states. There are barriers to trade and investment in some sectors resulting from regulatory constraints, local sourcing requirements, and import tariffs. Risks exist for UK companies around the protection of their intellectual property and there can also be significant bureaucratic delays affecting communication and payment which can put UK suppliers in a difficult position.

Nevertheless, we are successfully competing there. It is the UK’s fourth biggest export market and we sold over £200m worth of security products and services there in 2014. Opportunities continue to grow, particularly in the cyber sector, and the new Government has promised to review and improve its security procurement processes. ADS has offices in Bangalore and SMEs who want to explore opportunities there are welcome to use these offices as a permanent Indian address and to meet with potential customers.

Exporting to India is a long game and is particularly difficult for SMEs but if companies are willing to put in the leg-work over a period of years, the opportunities are significant.