London: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that a new era of cooperation between the United Kingdom and India has begun. The British Prime Minister made this claim during the virtual meeting with the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Prime Minister Johnson clarified that the United Kingdom is looking at India as an irreplaceable ally. At the same time, both the leaders have set the target to double the bilateral trade by the year 2030. For this purpose, a bilateral free trade agreement will be signed, and a plan will be drafted to develop strategic partnerships in the next ten years.
The British prime minister’s visit had to be cancelled twice, given the Coronavirus pandemic. But the prime ministers of both countries held a virtual meeting. During the meeting, Prime Minister Modi thanked the British Prime Minister for the aid provided by the United Kingdom to India for the fight against Coronavirus. At the same time, the British Prime Minister announced cooperation with India in various sectors. As per this, bilateral cooperation in health, climate, trade, education, science and technology and defence sectors will be strengthened.
The plan up to 2030 to develop strategic partnerships will soon be published by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO). The Indian foreign ministry gave this information. The current annual bilateral trade between India and the United Kingdom stands at GBP 23 billion. Both the countries have set the goal to double this trade by the year 2030 and have initiated for signing the free trade agreement for this purpose. Meanwhile, trade and investment-related agreements worth GBP 1 billion were signed during the virtual meeting between Prime Minister Johnson and Prime Minister Modi. Prime Minister Johnson clarified that this would create 6,500 jobs in the United Kingdom.
The statement issued by the British Prime Minister’s office says that cooperation between the universities in India and the United Kingdom will be increased for research in the health, advanced technology and environmental science sectors. Meanwhile, the statement notes that the British aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth will be visiting India at the end of this year. Joint war exercises also will be held between the Indian and British navies.
Indian Foreign Minister S Jaishankar is currently in the United Kingdom for the G7 meeting. Foreign Minister Jaishankar held discussions with British Home Minister Priti Patel. Foreign Minister Jaishankar is also scheduled to meet British Foreign Minister Dominic Raab. It is being said that both the leaders will be discussing the threats to democracy on the global level in detail. The United Kingdom took the strategic decision to strengthen its trade relations with India following Brexit. But till now, the entire British focus was on stopping the Coronavirus pandemic. The British prime minister’s visit to India also had to be cancelled twice, owing to the Corona outbreaks in India and the United Kingdom.
But now, both the countries have initiated steps towards strengthening the cooperation further. The United Kingdom is among the countries providing substantial assistance to India in the fight against Coronavirus.