India, UK agree to enhance relations

October 23, 2021
Indian External Affairs Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar and British Foreign Secretary Elizabeth Truss meet in New Delhi on Friday.
Indian External Affairs Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar and British Foreign Secretary Elizabeth Truss meet in New Delhi on Friday.

NEW DELHI — India and the UK on Friday decided to enhance cooperation in a number of areas of mutual concern amid growing global challenges. This came amid talks between Indian External Affairs Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar and his British counterpart Elizabeth Truss, who arrived in New Delhi on a three-day official visit, according to an Indian statement.

They discussed a number of issues, including trade and investments, the people to people relationship, health partnership climate change, science, innovation, defense and security. They also reviewed Roadmap 2030 launched by prime ministers of both the countries during the India-UK Virtual Summit held in May this year and appreciated the progress made so far.

"Both ministers welcomed the progress in delivering the Enhanced Trade Partnership announced at the Virtual Summit and underlined the need for launching FTA negotiations at the earliest with a focus on negotiating an interim agreement that can deliver quick gains to businesses in both India and the UK, the statement said.

Migration and Mobility Partnership and the Global Innovation Partnership also came up for discussion and both the ministers committed to their early implementation. Consular issues and maritime security would be discussed through new dialogue mechanisms, the statement said.

They also announced instituting the India-UK Strategic Futures Forum Track to promote expert deliberations on long-term strategic link between India and the UK. Both the ministers discussed regional and global issues while pledging their commitment to promote multipolar world and multilateralism.

"They agreed to strengthen cooperation in West Asia and the Indo Pacific, on countering terrorism and radical extremism, and addressing emerging challenges in the cyber and space domains, the ministry said.

Deliberations between Jaishankar and Truss also touched upon Afghanistan. They stressed the need for full, safe and unhindered access for humanitarian assistance. They also pledged to ensure that Afghan territory not be used to threaten or attack any country or to shelter or train terrorists, or to plan or to finance terrorist attacks.

Truss also met Indian Minister of Finance Nirmala Sitharaman and the Minister of Environment Bhupender Yadav. The visiting British minister is slated to participate in business and defense engagements in Mumbai held in connection with the visit of Carrier Strike Group 21 to India.

In a related development Jaishankar and Indian Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla met UKs Chief of Defense Gen. Sir Nicholas Carter and discussed several issues including Afghanistan, developments in the Indo-Pacific and India UK defense and security cooperation.

Truss announced technology and infrastructure tie-ups with India to boost both economies and help developing countries grow in a clean and sustainable way. She announced a series of tech and infrastructure deals to boost jobs, promote our values and increase global green growth.

During a 2-day trip to Delhi and Mumbai, the Foreign Secretary will outline agreements to deepen investment ties between the 2 countries and work together on finance and technical support packages for the developing world.

The deals include more tech transfer and knowledge sharing with developing countries alongside heavy capital investment — a model that the UK is looking to replicate with partners around the world. The agreements will help drive forward the Build Back Better World Initiative launched by G7 leaders in June to help meet the huge clean infrastructure need in the developing world.

Truss said: “I want the UK and India to step-up their partnership in critical areas like technology, investment, security and defense. India is the world’s largest democracy, a tech and economic powerhouse and a vital strategic partner for the UK.” — Agencies

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