NEW DELHI: Trade and investment with United Kingdom Pushing India for a free trade agreement – along with Indo-Pacific, defense and security, and working together for a speedy recovery from Covid-19 – dominated the agenda for Tuesday’s meeting between the visit of British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab and his counterpart S. Jaishankar.
Raab, only the second foreign minister after his US counterpart to visit India since the outbreak of the pandemic Mike Pompeo, also confirmed in a joint press conference by the British Prime Minister Boris JohnsonParticipation as the main guest in next month’s Republic Day celebrations. While describing India’s invitation as a great honor, Jaishankar said the development symbolizes a new era in India-UK relations. The UK also invited Modi to attend the UK-hosted G7 summit next year.
Both countries agreed on a 10-year, 360-degree roadmap for improving the India-UK partnership to the next level, with Raab listing an improved trade partnership and a future free trade agreement as a top priority over the next year.
“I think this could open tremendous opportunities for British and Indian businesses and break down barriers in areas such as food and drink, healthcare and life sciences, IT, data, chemicals and financial services. I think there are some exciting opportunities ahead of us,” said Raab . Britain sought to strengthen trade ties with India to offset the damage caused by leaving the EU.
When asked how serious India was about the free trade deal with the UK, Jaishankar said it had serious intentions to push trade relations with the UK as it had left the RCEP from countries in the Asia-Pacific region. He added that this is like comparing apples to oranges as there is no question that India is transferring its experience and decisions with RCEP to negotiations with the UK.
India said in a statement that both sides recognized the importance of swiftly following discussions on a trade deal, as well as the conclusion of a “comprehensive migration and mobility partnership agreement” that could enable faster movement, in order to unlock the full potential of bilateral trade. and exploiting economic relationships between students and professionals in both directions.
Jaishankar said the talks focused on broad 5. topics – connecting people, trade and prosperity, defense and security, climate and health. “The situation in Afghanistan, the development of the Indo-Pacific and the developments in the Middle East were one of the topics that were raised. The challenges posed by terrorism and radicalism were a common concern,” he said.
Jaishankar was also accompanied at the meeting by the key scientific advisor coordinating India’s response to Covid vaccines. Raab said the proudest example of India-UK partnership today is Covid-19.
“”Oxford University, AstraZeneca and the Serum Institute India worked closely together. And the institute now plans to produce a billion doses of the Oxford vaccine by the end of next year, many of which will be for low- and middle-income countries, “he said.
Raab also named the commitment to building a stronger defense and security partnership with India and working together on climate change as two other priorities in his 10-year roadmap between the UK and India.
While India has pushed the UK to develop its own Indo-Pacific policy, the UK High Commission said in a statement that Raab’s visit was the UK’s latest move to forge closer ties with “like-minded countries” in the Indo-Pacific region, with India a key strategic partner. Raab also reiterated that HMS Queen Elizabeth Carrier Strike Group will visit the Indo-Pacific region next year.