• Tuesday, May 17, 2022

HEADLINE STORY

Modi, Boris discuss India-UK trade in phone call

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

By: Sarwar Alam

India prime minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday (18) congratulated British counterpart Boris Johnson on his re-election in a phone call during which they resolved to continue working closely on issues such as trade, security and defence and climate change.

Johnson won a big majority for his Conservative Party in last week”s election.

“The prime minister (Johnson) spoke to prime minister Modi of India, who congratulated him on the result of the General Election,” a Downing Street spokesperson said.

“The two leaders resolved to continue working closely together on issues such as trade, security and defence, and to step up our cooperation on climate change ahead of next year’s COP26 climate summit in Glasgow,” the spokesperson said.

The call with Modi is among the first few Johnson has had since the 55-year-old Conservative Party leader returned to 10 Downing Street as prime minister with a strong 80-seat majority last Friday.

US president Donald Trump and Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau were the world leaders ahead of the Indian prime minister to call Johnson, reflecting the British prime minister”s clear eye on post-Brexit trade agreements once the UK has left the European Union (EU) next year.

During the election campaign trail, Johnson had made repeated references to his commitment to stronger India-UK ties and has committed to making India one of his first destinations for an overseas visit as a newly re-elected prime minister.

“I know prime minister Modi is building a new India. And, we in the UK government will support him fully in his endeavour,” he said during a visit to the famous Swaminarayan Mandir in Neasden, north-west London, days before the election last Thursday.

The Conservative Party manifesto also made a categorical reference to India as a dynamic economy.

“We will forge stronger links with the Commonwealth, which boasts some of the world’s most dynamic economies such as India, with which we already share deep historical and cultural connections,” noted the manifesto.

“We will use export finance to increase our businesses’ access to emerging markets and engage diaspora communities in the UK with this agenda,” it added.

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