The Importance of Indo-Scots Relations

The Importance of Indo-Scots Relations

The economic ties between India and Scotland date back over 400 years.  It is fair to say that Scots have embraced many aspects of Indian culture, but despite the cultural links between the two countries, I believe we could be doing much more as a nation to improve Indo-Scots trade relations.

While a Free Trade Agreement between India and the UK is currently being negotiated, I think as a devolved nation Scotland could be doing more to play its part in improving relations with India, and I’d like to challenge the Scottish Government to engage more keenly with the Indian Government to look at ways of strengthening our ties to the economic and cultural benefit of both parties.

India is currently the eleventh largest inward investor into Scotland, but there are opportunities to increase this even further which I don’t think we are making the most of.

For example, the lack of direct flights between India and Scotland is a real barrier to increased trade between the two nations.  A few years ago, there was some talk of Air India or Jet Airways launching a new direct line between India and Scotland, but instead a new route from Manchester was implemented.

This was hugely disappointing as it’s clear that a direct flight schedule between India and Scotland would be beneficial to our economy.  As it stands, Indian tourists or businesspeople who come to Scotland tend to fly into London before venturing north of the border. This means their time in Scotland is often cut short, and a large portion of their spending money goes into the London economy, when it could be spent here.  These visitors are staying in London hotels and visiting London restaurants, rather than maximising their time spent in Scotland, which is a real missed opportunity for us.

Indian tourists are the second biggest spenders in the world when travelling, so if we could entice greater numbers of Indian visitors to Scotland, and ensure this is the main focus of their trip, we could massively benefit from the boost this would bring to our hospitality and tourism sectors.  This is more crucial now than ever before as so many of these businesses continue to feel the after-effects of the pandemic.

India is also one of the largest consumers of whisky in the world.  The duty on whisky is currently significant in India – something which the UK Government is hoping to have reduced in the future and I hope is significantly reduced in order to boost sales of the product – but until a decision is taken, I believe there is more we could do to mix whisky and tourism to target this untapped market of Indian visitors.

Whisky isn’t the only opportunity.  India is also a huge importer of cheese, so food and drink could be a huge area for growth more generally.  Tartan, cashmere, and wool also present fantastic opportunities.

Education is another key area we must examine.  Scottish universities have relied on income from students from China for several years, but not many people realise that Indian students are currently the fifth largest group of people from overseas studying in Scotland.  We should be shouting more loudly about this and the benefits it brings in a bid to attract more students from India.  Nurturing and growing our relationship with Indian students could be another great way of improving relations between the two countries, and I believe if we were more closely aligned in other areas of trade relations, this would be easier.

It is clear to me that the Scottish Government should be doing more to improve Indo-Scots relations, and they should be making a much more concerted effort to forge relations at a state level to allow for greater inward investment, while creating greater opportunities for export.  In my view, while relationships between the UK Government and China are strained, there’s currently a huge opportunity to do more business with India.

I’m encouraged that a new Cross-Party Group in the Scottish Parliament on India has recently been formed with the goal of promoting Indo-Scots relations.  The group will liaise with relevant stakeholders to increase greater collaboration between the nations and I look forward to working with the group to discuss my experience and provide suggestions on how trade could be improved.  I think this is a really positive step in the right direction, however, I am aware that any meaningful action could still take a considerable amount of time to come to fruition, so for now I remain cautiously optimistic.

The benefit of improved trade relations cannot be denied, and the positive economic impact would create a circle of benefits such as job creation and greater prosperity.  More trade is good for the economy, and we need this now more than ever before.

Our priority must be the post-Covid economic recovery as we slowly emerge from the pandemic, and I believe greater trade relations between India and Scotland could be a fantastic way of boosting the recovery.

Article by The Scotsman : Why the economic links between Scotland and India must be strengthened – Puneet Gupta

The Life of an Entrepreneur

The Life of an Entrepreneur

PG Paper celebrates 18 years in business this week.  As we countdown to our official anniversary we ask the joint CEO of PG Paper, Puneet Gupta, what life is like as a serial entrepreneur.

Do you believe there is a pattern or formula to becoming a successful entrepreneur? 

I don’t think there are any shortcuts.  Being an overnight success has taken me 18 years of determination and hard work.  I have always been willing to learn and get stuck in, and listen to the advice of others.  During the more challenging times resilience is crucial.  During the past year increasing my fitness and focusing on my health has also proved a very positive focus.

You are a serial entrepreneur. How do you generate new ideas? 

Being open to learning and seeing things from different perspectives is really important.  Education is a lifelong pursuit and I take every opportunity to improve my knowledge and skills.  PG is an international firm and both travelling and networking help to stimulate my thinking and generate ideas for PG.  I am also surrounded by ambitious, creative people who are encouraged to bring ideas to the table.  By working together and sharing ideas we grow. More recently, working with a VC fund that specializes in early investments in Ed-tech, Fin-tech and Med-tech has really opened my mind to what is coming 5 years from now.

Has being an entrepreneur affected your family life? 

Yes… and no. Running your own business is a 24/7 commitment and I wouldn’t have it any other way to be honest.  I really hope my daughters are enthused and encouraged to follow their own career paths and I hope that some of my passion, dedication and hard work has rubbed off on them over the years.

What is your favorite aspect of being an entrepreneur? 

There’s so much I enjoy about being an entrepreneur but one of the best things is that every day is different.  Working across five continents in both prime and stock markets, no one day is the same as the next.  We work hard to open opportunities and new markets, meaning each day brings new and exciting challenges.

I’ve also met so many great people.  From the PG team, who have worked with us to help build the company into what it is today, to our customers and mills, many of whom we have worked with since year one.  We may be working within the paper industry, but we are firmly a people business.
A slightly unexpected aspect of being a successful entrepreneur has been finding myself in the lucky position of being able to directly make a difference in people’s lives.  We support many social and charitable organizations in PG, both locally and across the globe and it helps to bring a real sense of purpose to my work.

Greenock Entrepreneur Named Benefactor of Leading Veterans’ Charity

Greenock Entrepreneur Named Benefactor of Leading Veterans’ Charity

A Greenock-based business owner has been named a benefactor of the UK’s leading veterans’ mental health charity, Combat Stress.

Puneet Gupta, co-founder of PG Paper, is now a benefactor of the charity after many years of championing mental health causes.

Combat Stress was founded over a hundred years ago to help former servicemen and women with mental health problems such as post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, and depression.  Today the charity provides a range of online, community, outpatient and residential specialist services to veterans living with complex mental health issues.

This comes hot on the heels of a partnership between PG Paper and local mental health charity MindMosaic, which was implemented by Puneet, and saw staff complete Mental Health Champion Training.  All colleagues also have access to confidential and dedicated counselling and support as part of the initiative.

Puneet said: “I’m extremely proud to have been made a Benefactor of Combat Stress as they do such important work with former servicepeople.  This cause is very close to my heart, and I look forward to continuing my support of the charity through further fundraising efforts and by driving awareness of the incredible work they do.”

Kate Alexander, Head of Major Gifts, at Combat Stress, said: “The support we receive through donations is absolutely essential, allowing us to provide our expert, specialist treatment to veterans with complex mental health issues. The generosity of Mr Gupta and his fellow benefactors makes a tangible difference to the lives of veterans – and to their families – by helping them to tackle their past and take on the future.”

“Our mission is to provide support and treatment to veterans to help them tackle the past and take on the future, and without donations from our supporters, this simply would not be possible.”

To find out more about Combat Stress, go to

PG Paper Named Scotland’s International Business of the Year!

PG Paper Named Scotland’s International Business of the Year!

PG Paper is delighted to end the year celebrating winning The FSB Scotland’s International Business of the Year award.

The FSB Small Business Awards recognise the best small businesses from the UK, offering national recognition for those who have made the biggest impression in 2020.

Puneet Gupta, PG Paper’s COO said “On behalf of the whole team we are absolutely delighted to win this award.  Our vision is to be a leading global partner within the paper, board and tissue industry. We are very grateful for the continued dedication and expertise of our staff, without whom our continued international growth and diversification would not have been possible.”

puneet gupta

Twelve area awards finals take place, with the UK final taking place at a VIP attended awards ceremony in May 2021 in London.

PG Paper is now automatically entered into the UK Final being held on 27 May 2021.



Poonam and Puneet Gupta, owners and joint CEO’s of PG Paper, were among the first in Scotland to welcome the official Indian delegation as they touched down in Glasgow this week.

Poonam and Puneet Gupta, the husband-and-wife co-founders of PG Paper, played host to the group of Indian representatives attending the climate change summit, which included Prime
Minister Narendra Modi and Bhupender Yadav, India’s Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.

The Guptas were joined by an array of Indian diaspora representatives from across Scotland at the reception and took the opportunity to discuss the importance of strengthening Indo-Scots relations.

Puneet said: “This was a fantastic opportunity to speak with the Prime Minister of India, particularly at a time where the eyes of the world will be on Scotland. I believe stronger relations between India and Scotland will be a key part of our post-Covid economic recovery, and I’d like to see the two countries working more closely together going forward, so I hope this visit from the Indian PM will be the first of many more to come.”

Poonam, who was recently appointed to the Board of Directors at the Asia Scotland Institute, said: “This is the first time Prime Minister Modi has visited Scotland and it was an honour to meet him and his ministerial team on several occasions during his 3-day visit. This is a pivotal moment for Indo-Scots relations and we are committed to facilitating discussions between the two nations.”
The Guptas have strong ties to India, and earlier this year, Poonam and Puneet harnessed resources from across PG Paper’s international offices in order to send over 4,000 oxygen concentrators to India as the country battled its second wave of Covid.

Poonam continued: “We were deeply impacted by the crisis in India; we lost close family members, friends, and colleagues. Puneet and I were very grateful to both the PG Paper team, our wider business communities, and other charitable organisations working alongside us in this appeal.”

Shipping Oxygen Concentrators to India
Puneet Gupta with Bhupendra Yadav