• Monday, May 23, 2022

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Modi and Johnson pledge to boost trade ties

Indian prime minister Narendra Modi (right) shakes hands with new British prime minister Boris Johnson (Photo: PTI).

By: Radhakrishna N S

 

By Amit Roy

BRITISH prime minister Boris John­son said “in the last week the British people have stepped up in their thou­sands to support our Indian friends during this terrible time in a demon­stration of the deep connection be­tween the UK and India”.

He was speaking on Tuesday (4) fol­lowing a virtual summit with his Indian counterpart, Narendra Modi.

Johnson and Modi agreed to “expand the UK-India health partnership to en­hance global health security and pan­demic resilience. This includes firming up international supply chains to ensure critical medicines, vaccines and other medical products reach those who need them most.”

“Over the last week British business, civil society and the wider public have demonstrated the strength of the rela­tionship between the UK and India by donating much-needed medical sup­plies to the country,” the post-summit communiqué added.

Johnson and Modi “agreed to continue to work together on our shared fight against coronavirus. They pointed to the Oxford- AstraZeneca vaccine, being produced by India’s Serum Institute, as an example of the power of UK-India cooperation.”

Johnson, who twice had to cancel planned trips to India because of the pan­demic, said: “The UK and India share many fundamental values. The UK is one of the oldest democracies, and India is the world’s largest. We are both committed members of the Commonwealth. And there is a living bridge uniting the people of our countries.”

The communiqué said the two prime ministers “made an historic commit­ment to strengthen work between the UK and India over the next decade.

“The UK’s Integrated Review, pub­lished earlier this year, highlighted the importance of the Indo-Pacific region to the UK’s security and prosperity. India is an indispensable partner in that region.”

The two leaders “have pledged to achieve a quantum leap in the UK-India relationship, boosting our cooperation in areas that matter to the UK and India. India has elevated the status of its rela­tionship with the UK to a ‘Comprehen­sive Strategic Partnership’ – the first Eu­ropean country to be granted that status.

“During a virtual meeting today, the two leaders agreed on a ‘2030 Roadmap’, which will provide a framework for UK-India relations across health, climate, trade, education, science and technolo­gy, and defence.”

Johnson and Modi agreed on ambi­tious goals “on tackling climate change and preserving nature” and also “accel­erating the development of clean energy and transport, protecting biodiversity and helping developing countries adapt to the impact of climate change”.

They said they would “deepen the economic relationship between the UK and India through an Enhanced Trade Partnership” and confirm “our intent to negotiate a Free Trade Agreement with a view to doubling UK-India trade over the next decade”. They would “increase co­operation between British and Indian universities on crucial research in areas like health, emerging technologies and climate science”.

They would also “work in lockstep to tackle threats to our shared security in all their forms. The UK’s Carrier Strike Group will visit India later this year to boost this work with our navies and air forces undertaking joint training exer­cises to enable future cooperation on operations in the Western Indian Ocean.”

The communiqué spoke of the size of the British Indian community, and not­ed “there are more Indian companies in the UK than in the rest of Europe com­bined, and our people share history, culture and values”.

It said Johnson and Modi “undertook to work closely together in support of those values, including at next month’s G7 in Cornwall which India will attend as a guest nation”.

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