TRADE and investment opportunities in Southampton are expected to get a boost as the city could be twinned with Mumbai.

India’s second largest city, which is also a port, could enter into a global partnership with Southampton as part of plans by the City Council to build on its international relationships.

Being discussed at a full council meeting next Wednesday, civic chiefs are expected to agree to signing a ‘Memorandum of Understanding’ between the two cities, signalling an intention to twin.

If agreed, the new partnership is expected to make Southampton an ‘indispensable strategic partner’ for any organisation wishing to deepen relationships with India.

Other benefits are expected to be seen in sport and education with more Indian students potentially coming to the city’s two universities.

It is also thought that Mumbai could become a “central strand” in the city’s City of Culture 2025 bid.

Cabinet member for growth and deputy leader of the council, Cllr Jeremy Moulton told the Echo: “We’ll start to see Southampton on the map in India far more and I think that will certainly create more opportunities in terms of investment and students coming to study.

“With Brexit, Southampton’s strategic importance to the country is greater than ever. We’re one of eight Freeports and our focus will be on the rest of the world outside of the EU.

“Southampton has very strong connections with India through family ties. That’s something we’ll be looking to develop through our City of Culture bid.”

This comes two years after Southampton was twinned with Miami, Florida in 2019.

Ross McNally, Chief Executive and Executive Chairman of Hampshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “Both Southampton and Mumbai are strategically vital port cities that handle large amounts of containerised freight and play essential roles in our respective economies, including in job creation.

“We strongly support the idea of an international partnership between us. There are already extensive business connections and formalising these through a dedicated twinning relationship will help companies here to do more export business in India.”