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PM Modi with his UK counterpart Boris Johnson (File Photo)
PM Modi with his UK counterpart Boris Johnson (File Photo)

Boris Johnson's India visit to give momentum to FTA negotiations

ANI | Updated: Apr 20, 2022 21:38 IST

New Delhi [India], April 20 (ANI): British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's visit to India beginning Thursday is expected to give momentum to negotiations on Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the two countries.
The third round of negotiations will begin next week and the two sides are keen to double bilateral trade by 2030.
The two countries are also exploring the possibility of an interim agreement to provide quick gains for benefitting businesses on both sides.
The United Kingdom is also looking to increase its footprint in defence production in India.
India and UK launched Free Trade Agreement negotiations in January this year.
Sources said the two countries have cleared some of the issues in the first two rounds of negotiations and some major issues around market access are expected to figure in the third round of negotiations.
They said Prime Minister Narendra Modi and PM Johnson would be keen to encourage and give momentum to those negotiations. While some big announcements are not expected, the two leaders are expected to give a strong signal.
The sources said the aim is to try and do the negotiation this year if possible and there is quite a bit of ambition on both sides.
India was the second biggest contributor to Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the UK in 2020.
The two countries have strong links in the healthcare sector and the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is manufactured in India as Covishield.
The issue concerning financial fugitives from India may come up during talks. The United Kingdom's position is that executive processes have been followed but there are legal proceedings that continue and it is for the judiciary to take a view.
The UK is seeking an increase its presence in the defence manufacturing sector in India the issues related to the transfer of technology are expected to come up in talks. The cooperation between India and the UK in the maritime domain is expected to become stronger in the coming years.
PM Johnson has been absolutely determined to come to India with UK keen to turn the Compressive Strategic Partnership into something real and long-lasting.
The sources said the visit to India is a big deal for PM Johnson and the trip has been one of his top priorities. His visit to India was "cancelled" twice due to the situation created by COVID-19.
PM Johnson knows India well and it will be his first visit to the country as Prime Minister
During the visit, PM Johnson and Prime Minister Narendra will review the implementation of the Roadmap 2030 and set their vision for further intensifying cooperation across the full spectrum of bilateral ties. They will also exchange views on regional and global issues of mutual interest.
The sources said the UK looks at the next 25 years to further enhance bilateral cooperation.
Johnson's two-day visit will begin with Gujarat, a state that is home to a large number of Indian diaspora in the UK including the family of UK Home Secretary Priti Patel.
The visit comes almost a year after the two countries held the India-UK Virtual Summit in early May last year in which PM Modi and PM Johnson adopted the India-UK Roadmap 2030 to steer cooperation for the next ten years.
The two leaders also launched an 'Enhanced Trade Partnership' (ETP) to tap into the full trade potential between the two countries by the way of a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) to achieve the target of more than doubling the bilateral trade by 2030.
PM Johnson will be accorded a ceremonial welcome at Rashtrapati Bhavan and he will hold bilateral consultations with PM Modi on April 22.
India and the United Kingdom have a long and historical relationship which was elevated to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership during the India-UK Virtual Summit in 2021. (ANI)