India and United Kingdom on Tuesday gave a boost to their trade ties by announcing a one-billion-pound pact besides firming up a ten-year roadmap for a more robust strategic partnership. This was announced after the virtual summit by both Prime Ministers Narendra Modi and Boris Johnson and the two countries also agreed to strengthen ties in the fields of defence, security, telecommunication and health care. They unveiled the ambitious 10-year roadmap to elevate India-UK ties and agreed to handle the Covid crisis unitedly.
According to a statement from Johnson’s office, “more than 6,500 new jobs will be created around the UK thanks to the one billion pounds of new UK-India trade and investment announced by the Prime Minister today.” The Indo-UK package contains over 533 million pounds of new Indian investment into the UK, which is expected to create more than 6,000 jobs in vital and growing sectors such as health and technology, Downing Street said. This includes a GBP 240 million investment by the Serum Institute of India (SII) in the UK into its vaccine business and a new sales office in the country, expected to generate new business worth over USD 1 billion, it added.
The two leaders discussed the COVID-19 situation and ongoing cooperation in the fight against the pandemic, including the successful partnership on vaccines.
India’s External Affairs Ministry said the summit has “opened a new chapter” in the Indo-UK ties. It said the launch of an ambitious 10-year roadmap to further broaden ties was a “big deliverable”, and five areas of cooperation under the roadmap were — people-to-people ties, trade, defence and security, climate and health. The officials said the Indian side asked British counterparts about the formalities pending in the extradition of Indian fugitives — Vijay Mallya and Nirav Modi. During the meeting, the Indian Prime Minister said economic offenders should be sent back to India at the earliest for trial, the Ministry added.
Earlier in the day, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and British Home Secretary Priti Patel signed a migration and mobility partnership agreement. Jaishankar is currently on a four-day visit to the UK to attend a meeting of foreign ministers of G7 countries. In London, Johnson declared a new era in UK-India relations following the summit level talks with Modi. Downing Street said the two Prime Ministers have pledged to achieve a “quantum leap” in the UK-India relationship and that 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.
“The agreements we have made today mark the beginning of a new era in the UK-India relationship,” Johnson 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,” said Johnson.
The two leaders discussed the COVID-19 situation and ongoing cooperation in the fight against the pandemic, including the successful partnership on vaccines. Prime Minister Modi thanked Prime Minister Johnson for the prompt medical assistance provided by the UK in the wake of the severe second wave of COVID-19 in India. Prime Minister Johnson appreciated India’s role in extending assistance to the UK and other countries over the last year, including by way of supply of pharmaceuticals and vaccines.
“The two Prime Ministers launched an ‘Enhanced Trade Partnership’ (ETP) to unleash the trade potential between the 5th and 6th largest economies of the world and by setting an ambitious target of more than doubling bilateral trade by 2030. As part of the ETP, India and the UK agreed on a roadmap to negotiate a comprehensive and balanced FTA, including consideration of an Interim Trade Agreement for delivering early gains. The enhanced trade partnership between India and UK will generate several thousands of direct and indirect jobs in both the countries,” said Modi’s office in a statement.
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