Dharmendra Pradhan, India Energy Minister
Dharmendra Pradhan, India's Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas, addresses international investors in London on 12 September, 2016 Photo: Indian High Commission, London

The UK and India are natural allies with a healthy strategic relationship that will not be dented by the recent British vote to exit the European Union, according to Dharmendra Pradhan, India's Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas.

Speaking to IBTimes UK, whilst on an official visit to promote India's latest hydrocarbon prospects, Pradhan said: "I have held detailed discussions with my British counterpart Greg Clark [Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy]; a dialogue that we first initiated with the UK government back in the summer of 2015. I affirm that Brexit does not diminish our partnership in any way whatsoever.

"India has historic ties to the UK. Furthermore, London remains the financial capital of the world and a great centre of technology and innovation. As we open up our hydrocarbon resource to international oil and gas explorers, we expect London to play a key role in facilitating that journey."

In the British capital to promote India's discovered small oil and gas field bid round of 2016, Pradhan added that two of the keenest partners have the UK's BP and Cairn Energy. The country is currently offering up 46 contract areas, consisting of 67 small fields across nine sedimentary basins, for exploration and production of oil and gas in India, and remains confident of British interest.

Pradhan said: "Our prospects are good. We expect existing British partners to invest over $15bn (£11.27bn) in the upcoming round, bids for which open on 31 October. We've held roadshows in Houston (USA), Dubai (United Arab Emirates), Calgary (Canada), Singapore and rounded it off in London where we always wanted to.

"Nothing suggests to me that City financiers are in crisis mode post-Brexit, despite the era of lower oil prices adding to the complexity. For argument's sake, even if we say there is a crisis of confidence; well then, in every crisis there is an opportunity. India is that opportunity for foreign direct investment as our economy is growing by 7.6% and we anticipate double-digit economic growth over the coming years."

Looking to allay investor concerns about past tussles between the Indian government and British companies like Vodafone and Cairn Energy, Pradhan blamed the problem on the previous administration.

"Gone are the days when companies like Vodafone and Cairn Energy found themselves embroiled in disputes with the government. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is the most pro-business, investor-friendly leader of the nation we have had. There has been no new case since the Modi administration took office. In us, foreign direct investors have a reliable, transparent and credible partner."