India-UK MoU on illegal immigrants under discussion: Foreign Secy

ANI | Updated: Apr 18, 2018 22:03 IST

London [UK], Apr 18 (ANI): The meeting between the Prime Ministers of India and the United Kingdom has paved the way for a discussion on a possible Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on illegal immigrants, Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale said on Wednesday.

"An MoU on illegal immigrants is under discussion. I think there will be a meeting of Home Secretary and Home Minister, perhaps at the end of next month, and I presume we will continue to discuss it in that time," Gokhale told press here.

Briefing about the range of discussions held between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his British counterpart, Theresa May, Gokhale informed that the countries signed 11 MoUs towards strengthening bilateral ties.

Terrorism was one of the major topics of discussion between the leaders, and Prime Minister May expressed that the UK stood as a strategic partner with India on the issue of terrorism and that it was ready to expand cooperation in defence.

The issue of cybercrime was also discussed. "Prime Minister described extremism, radicalism, terrorism as a rising challenge for both countries and for countries across the globe. It was agreed that one area where we need to enhance cooperation substantially is in the cybersecurity field," said Gokhale.

On being asked if the recent suspected chemical attack in Syria was a deliberated one, Gokhale said, "I think there is something in the joint statement which is in agreed position, but this was not a major discussion between the two Prime Minister. Out Prime Minister said that the use of chemical weapons anywhere under any circumstances is not acceptable."

In the area of trade relations, the British Prime Minister expressed keenness to commence discussions on Free Trade Agreement (FTA) and Prime Minister Modi emphasised that it needed to be a balanced agreement that had mutual benefits, informed the Foreign Secretary.

May assured Prime Minister Modi that until the end of 2020, the Indian companies would continue to enjoy the same benefits as before Brexit.

On a related note, the issue of visa and work permit in the UK was also raised in the meeting.

"The issue of economic offenders was also raised and this was among a number of consular issues that were raised. I have already covered the issue of mobilising professionals and students and the like. Views were also exchanged on current international and multilateral issues," Gokhale said.

However, the mediapersons could not receive a concrete answer to the question of specific Indian economic offenders like Vijay Mallya and Nirav Modi being points of discussion, given they have taken refuge in the UK.

Besides Gokhale, panel members included Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar, High Commissioner of India to UK Y.K. Sinha, and Foreign Secretary (European West) Nagaraj Naidu JS.

Prime Minister Modi, who is on a five-day tour to three nations, arrived at the Heathrow airport of the United Kingdom on Tuesday to take part in the 2018 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting.

The Prime Minister held bilateral talks with his British counterpart earlier in the day. (ANI)