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India and UK discuss free trade ahead of Boris Johnson visit | India News

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NEW DELHI: Trade and investment with the UK pushing India for a free trade deal, along with Indo-Pacific, defense and security and early recovery cooperation from Covid-19, dominated the agenda from Tuesday’s meeting between the UK Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs. matters Dominic Raab and his counterpart S Jaishankar.
Raab, the second Foreign Minister to visit India since the start of the pandemic after his American counterpart, Mike Pompeo, also confirmed in a joint press conference the participation of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson as the main guest at the celebrations of the Republic Day next month. 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 join the UK-hosted G7 summit next year.
Both countries agreed on a 10-year, 360-degree roadmap to improve the India-UK partnership to the next level with Raab on the list of the enhanced trade partnership next year and a future free trade agreement as the top priority.
“I think that could create huge opportunities for British and Indian companies, lowering barriers in areas such as food and beverage, health and life sciences, IT, data, chemicals and financial services. I think there are some interesting possibilities ahead,” he said Raab. The UK has wanted to strengthen trade ties with India to offset the damage of its departure from the EU.
When asked how serious India was about the free trade agreement with the United Kingdom, given that it had withdrawn from the RCEP that comprises the countries of Asia and the Pacific, Jaishankar said there was a serious intention to move relations forward. trade with the United Kingdom. He added that this was like comparing apples to oranges, as it was not about India transferring its experiences and decisions with the RCEP to the negotiations with the UK.
India said in a statement that in order to harness the full potential of bilateral trade and economic relations, both sides recognized the importance of speeding up discussions on a trade agreement, as well as concluding a “comprehensive migration and mobility partnership agreement” that can facilitate faster movement. of students and professionals in both directions.
Jaishankar said the talks focused on 5. Broad themes: connecting people, trade and prosperity, defense and security, climate and health. “The situation in Afghanistan, the evolution of the Indo-Pacific and developments in the Middle East were some of the issues that emerged. The challenges posed by terrorism and radicalism were a shared concern,” he said.
Jaishankar was also joined at the meeting by India’s chief scientific advisor coordinating the response to the Covid vaccine. Raab said that the proudest example of the India-UK partnership today was Covid-19.
“The University of Oxford, AstraZeneca and the Serum Institute India have been working closely together. And the Institute now plans to produce 1 billion doses of the Oxford vaccine by the end of next year, many of which will be destined for income countries. low and medium, “he said.
Raab also mentioned a commitment to building a stronger defense and security partnership with India and cooperation on climate change as two other priorities in his 10-year roadmap between the UK and India.
While India has been pushing the UK to come up with its own Indo-Pacific policy, the British high commission said in a statement that Raab’s visit marked the UK’s last step in building closer relations with “countries of ideas. allied “in the Indo-Pacific region, with India as a key strategic partner. Raab also reaffirmed that the HMS Queen Elizabeth Carrier Strike Group will visit the Indo-Pacific region next year.

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