Something is cooking – the West is paying a lot of attention to India recently
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Boris Johnson will hold wide-ranging discussions including defence and strategic affairs and the raging conflict in Ukraine with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi next week. The two-day visit likely to begin on April 21 comes after two postponements. Earlier, Johnson was to be the chief guest at the Republic Day parade here last year had to cancel it due to the rising number of Corona cases. The second time the visit was called off in April the same year as the second wave of the pandemic hit India. Modi also cancelled his visit to the UK for G-7 in May.
Narendra Modi and Boris Johnson last met on the margins of the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow last November, when they reviewed the 2030 Roadmap which they had finalized at a virtual summit in May 2021. India has seen some high-profile visits in the last few weeks in the backdrop of the Ukraine crisis. British Foreign Secretary Elizabeth Truss was here last month while Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi held talks with his Indian counterpart S Jaishankar. Moreover, Russian Foreign Sergey Lavrov also visited New Delhi.
The previous week, Modi held a virtual summit with US President Joe Biden before the 2+2 dialogue between the foreign and defence ministers of the two countries in Washington. Johnson recently made a surprise visit to Kyiv to meet President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, pledging to provide more weapons to Ukraine. As regards the agenda of the upcoming summit between Modi and Johnson, sources said here on Friday besides Ukraine the two heads will focus on a free trade agreement. The two leaders may firm up guidelines for their respective officials for ongoing negotiations in this regard. Some other pacts are also likely to be inked during the talks.
On the Ukraine issue, Britain is one of the leading nations to impose sanctions against Russia. Also, UK foreign secretary Truss during her visit here said Russia’s invasion of Ukraine underlined the importance of democracies working together to deter aggressors and strengthen global security. She also highlighted the importance of all countries reducing their strategic dependency on Russia. India has all along called for diplomacy to end the conflict and called for an immediate cessation of hostilities. Moreover, Modi in his telephonic talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukraine President Zelenskyy urged them to hold one on one talks to end the conflict.
Modi and Johnson last met on the margins of the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow last November, when they reviewed the 2030 Roadmap which they had finalized at a virtual summit in May 2021. Also, the two leaders elevated the bilateral ties to a “Comprehensive Strategic Partnership” during a virtual bilateral summit in May 2021. At the summit, the two sides adopted a 10-year roadmap to expand ties in the key areas of trade and economy, defense and security, climate change, and people-to-people connections.
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