Modi to May: UK’s visa policy could negatively impact Indians

Theresa May at the G20 summit in the Chinese city of Hangzhou
Theresa May at the G20 summit in the Chinese city of Hangzhou

THE NEW British visa policy could have a “negative impact” on business visits by Indian professionals, India’s prime minister Narendra Modi told his UK counterpart Theresa May on Monday (September 5) when they met at the G20 summit in China this week.

During their first meeting since May became prime minister in July, the two leaders also discussed bilateral ties after Britain voted to leave the European Union, India’s external affairs ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup said.

“(The) prime minister also touched on UK’s visa policy. In particular, he said the new UK regulations could have negative impact on Indian working professionals wishing to visit (the) UK for short term business visits,” he added.

May and Modi’s meeting took place on the sidelines of the G20 summit in the Chinese city of Hangzhou.

There the Indian leader talked about the challenges of terrorism, saying it posed the “biggest threat to the world”. Referring to May’s previous stint as home secretary, Modi said the British leader was only too aware of its dangers.

The pair then discussed counter terrorism cooperation between their countries during their time together.

A recent meeting of the India-UK joint group on counter terrorism was “useful”, Modi said as he called for greater collaboration in cyber security and intelligence sharing and information gathering.

May replied that she was keen to support Modi’s vision for India and also stressed the importance that the United Kingdom attached to the Indian diaspora.

As Britain seeks to forge new partnerships outside the EU since its referendum vote to leave in June, India has been a focus of British politicians’ attention. The UK’s secretary of state for international trade Dr Liam Fox, its secretary of state for international development Priti Patel and its Foreign and Commonwealth Office minister Alok Sharma have all made trips to visit India.

In their talks, Modi and May discussed British-Indian trade and investment ties. The Indian prime minister cited the recent successful launch of the HSBC Corporate Rupee bond on the London Stock Exchange as one positive example. India, Modi added, needed more UK participation in his “Make in India” initiative.

During their meeting May said that she accepted the Indian prime minister’s invitation to visit India.