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‘United by friendship, ek mazboot dosti’: Rishi Sunak on UK-India ties after talks with Modi

Sunak tweeted in Hindi that read, “Ek mazboot dosti’.

NUSA DUA, INDONESIA – NOVEMBER 16: British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi hold a bilateral meeting on November 16, 2022 in Nusa Dua, Indonesia. The new British Prime Minister aims to articulate his foreign policy vision here while grappling with economic instability at home. (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)

By: Pramod Thomas

Rishi Sunak on Wednesday highlighted the strong bonds between India and Britain during his meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi with the two leaders discussing areas where the UK and India are working increasingly closely including defence and security.

In the meeting held on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Bali, Indonesia Rishi Sunak passed on his thanks to Prime Minister Modi “for the overwhelming response of the Indian people to his appointment as Prime Minister”. A statement by the British Prime Minister’s Office said the two leaders looked forward to the agreement of a UK-India free trade deal, “which has the potential to unlock investment and increase jobs in both our countries, as well as expanding our deep cultural links”.

“United by friendship. ek mj’buut dostii,” Rishi Sunak said in a tweet after his meeting with PM Modi. The tweet had a photo of the two leaders warmly shaking hands.

It was their first meeting after Sunak, the first Indian-origin British Prime Minister, assumed office last month.

The statement said the leaders agreed on “the enduring importance of the UK-India relationship, and of the living bridge between our countries”.

“The leaders discussed the range of areas where the UK and India are working increasingly closely and have the opportunity to further develop our links, including defence and security,” it said.

“They looked forward to the agreement of a UK-India free trade deal, which has the potential to unlock investment and increase jobs in both our countries, as well as expanding our deep cultural links,” it added.

The statement said the two leaders agreed that UK and India’s shared values, “not least our commitment to democracy, are a huge asset in international forums like the G20 and the Commonwealth”.

“The Prime Minister welcomed the opportunity to work together on challenges like ending the war in Ukraine and tackling climate change under India’s presidency of the G20 next year,” it said.

Speaking on the sidelines of the G20 Summiti, Sunak had said the UK is committed to Free Trade Agreement with India.

“We remain committed to the trade deal with India, but we need to get these things right…There’s excitement about India taking over the G20 presidency,” he said.

President of Indonesia Joko Widodo handed over the G20 Presidency to India at the closing ceremony of the Bali summit. India will officially assume the G20 Presidency on December 1.

In his remarks at the closing ceremony of the G20 summit, PM Modi said India is taking charge of G-20 “when the world is grappling with geopolitical tensions, economic slowdown, rising food and energy prices”.

“India’s G20 presidency will be inclusive, ambitious, decisive and action-oriented. In the next year, it will be our endeavour that G20 works as a global prime mover to give impetus to collective action,” he said.

(ANI)

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