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At this time of an important development with the Fire and Security Association of India, I’m reminded of my first encounter with them around ten years ago. It was back in 2010 that I took on the role of Export Manager here at the FIA [although I’d been with the Association for several years] and my first major task, and a daunting one at that was to organise a fire trade mission to India. Although I was at one time Suppression Sales Manager at Kidde Fire Protection when it existed as a separate entity based in Northolt, west London, and was responsible for a business that sold 70% of its products overseas, I had no previous experience of running a trade mission. Thankfully, within just a few months, an OMIS had been agreed with what was then UKTI [now DIT] and a visit duly took place in November of that same year.
The mission saw a good number of UK fire companies travelling to Mumbai where we exhibited at IFSEC India as it was then, with this being augmented by a briefing on the Indian fire sector, visits to several industrial locations and contact with the two fire trade associations prevalent in India at the time. This included a convivial and constructive evening with the FSAI and its members at a cricket club in Mumbai and included a signing of an MoU between our respective associations [which has long since expired]. I am indebted to the FSAI for their contribution to that mission and to UKTI’s Trade and Investment Adviser for Western India who assisted in the arrangements and who joined us through that final week in November, a gentleman by the name of Siddharth Vishwanathan who helpfully went by the name of Sid.
A decade has passed since then but our frequent surveys among out FIA Exporters indicate that India remains very high on the list of priority markets for our members and hence is of great importance in respect of Export Council activity. Our most recent Workshop held as part of a recent Council meeting cements India’s position as a key market as it also came a clear first when participants were asked to identify Global Infrastructure Hotspots, that is territories where there is a current prevalence of major construction projects.
Over this summer, contact was re-established with FSAI and I am indebted to our CEO Ian Moore and Export Council Chair Tracy Kirk for enabling us to reach a point whereby a renewed MoU was signed on 18th September and which attracted over 100 delegates to an on-line event. I also thank FSAI National President Elect Ajit Raghavan and his team who were instrumental in making the necessary arrangements and conducting the event on the day.
At the appointed hour, Tracy presented a CPD Webinar on True Multi-Sensors and this was followed by a number of addresses including from FSIA National President Suresh Menon and our own Ian Moore. Providing an overview of the FIA and its primary activities, he placed especial importance on the exchange of information that may be accomplished between the two parties and which using the FIA knowledge base would include access to our Guidance Documents and Fact Files and the output of our Special Interest Groups and Research Projects. We would also be able to offer access to our training courses, possibly with bespoke packages, and facilitate business matchmaking among our respective members.
Those wishing to relive or view the proceedings for the first time can find it here
We were reminded during the proceedings of a quote by Henry Ford, founder of the Ford Motor Company at the start of the 20th century, who said ‘coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success’. This resonates deeply as it emphasises not just the significance of the establishment of working partnerships but the need to retain and nurture these relationships in order for them to reach their full potential. Both sides are indeed fully committed to the MoU being a blueprint for an active liaison between our two Associations and as part of this, we hope that before too long, we might return again to India with a delegation of UK fire companies.
And so we look forward to a blossoming relationship with the FSAI and the intertwining of the Indian lotus with the English rose, the thistle of Scotland, the leek of Wales and the shamrock of Ireland.
FIA, FIRESA Secretary
18 November 2020
By Chris Downing, FIA Extinguishing Council
16 November 2020
By David Smith, FIA, FIRESA Secretary
05 October 2020
By David Smith, FIA, FIRESA Secretary