UK reaches out to Whitefield, Bengaluru’s ICT hub that’s craving for civic attentionAnil Budur Lulla
The UK’s Deputy High Commissioner today reached out to stakeholders in Whitefield, a once sleepy Anglo-Indian suburb turned tech-hub in Bengaluru.
Dominic McAllister and his team engaged with Whitefield-based businesses, civic society, and British nationals living in the area to promote trade, investment opportunities, education, and cultural ties and to strengthen public engagement.
Whitefield has long sought some appreciation, but the quarter from which it finally did arrive was a little surprising.
Earlier, fed up with an insensitive government, a group of residents calling themselves ‘Whitefield Rising’ had come together, highlighting the area’s problems on social media. The civic action group has, over a period, succeeded in getting the attention of the traffic police, the city’s civic body, and the railways as well as in convincing the government to pay more attention to this fast developing hub in east Bengaluru, 30km from the city centre.
The UK event titled ‘Britain Meets Business@Whitefield’ was held at VR Bengaluru mall this morning. McAllister was accompanied by representatives of the UK’s Department of International Trade, British Council, UK India Business Council, and VFS, the visa and passport application processing company. The team met up with various stakeholders interested in exploring the UK as their destination for trade and investment.
Whitefield is a unique part of Bengaluru which has evolved into a vibrant community and ICT hub. From a sleepy start as an outpost of the Anglo-Indian community, it’s now at the heart of everything Bengaluru is known for — IT, innovation, arts, and culture.
The Mysore Maharaja granted 3,900 acres of land to Eurasians and Anglo-Indians to settle and develop Whitefield in the 1880s. It also had its own railway station 8 kms away.
The UK’s wartime Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, who spent many years in Bengaluru while stationed at its Cantonment, is reported to have been a frequent visitor to Waverly Inn in Whitefield.
During his company calls to Mu Sigma and essential Energy, the UK Deputy High Commissioner highlighted the opportunities for firms here to tie-up with the UK at the upcoming India-UK Tech Summit to be held in New Delhi between November 7 and 9 later this year.
UK trade delegations focusing on healthcare, lifesciences, advanced engineering, and science and innovation will travel to Bengaluru between November 8 and 11 to further strengthen ties with business and research centres here.
McAllister said: “I’d like to reiterate Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s words that the UK is known for its strength in technology and innovation, while India offers vast opportunities through its markets, skilled human resources, and competitive economic environment. The UK and India are an unbeatable combination for enormously successful partnerships.”
The Deputy High Commissioner also interacted with Whitefield civic society including Whitefield Rising civic activist RK Misra to exchange views on urban issues that the citizens’ action group is tackling. McAllister in the past has worked with the Greater London Authority (GLA), Bengaluru city administrators, and NGOs on urban governance issues.
“Hopefully, this meeting and initiative will help focus government attention back on Whitefield, which is bursting at its seams, and requires more than a healing touch,” Praveen Bagrodia, a prominent member of the community said.
Later, McAllister met British expats living in the area and hosted a reception for business contacts and other stakeholders in Whitefield.