UK Export Finance (UKEF), the United Kingdom’s export credit agency, now has its first representative in India, with the appointment of Rahul Tabhane as country head for the South Asian nation.

Tabhane joins UKEF from Mumbai-based management and consulting firm Blend Financial Services, where he served as vice president of project finance and export and structured finance for 18 months. Prior to this, he worked across a range of projects at Reliance Industries for more than six years, including debt financing worth more than US$20bn, relationship management with export credit agencies and international lenders, and administering the long-term foreign currency debt portfolio of the company.

Commenting on his appointment, Tabhane says he will “play a direct role in strengthening the trading relationship between the UK and India”.

“The UK’s expertise in a wide range of sectors has the potential to play a key role in the development of India’s rapidly-growing economy. I look forward to seeing the results of closer collaboration between the two countries,” he says.

The new hire for UKEF comes as the UK plans its post-Brexit trading strategy, which will see a growing focus on trade with developing economies outside of the European Union. Speaking to GTR earlier this month, UK trade secretary Liam Fox said, “We need to look at emerging markets and put businesses in a prime position so that we continue to see an increase in demand for British goods and services around the world”.

India is also central to the UK’s efforts to reenergise the Commonwealth as it seeks to build new trading relationships. Last year, UKEF more than doubled its financial support for UK companies exporting to India as well as Indian buyers of UK goods and services to £4.5bn. Support is made available in Indian rupees, allowing Indian buyers to access finance in their own currency and making sourcing from the UK more competitive.