New Delhi, April 22: India and the United Kingdom have decided to conclude a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the two countries by the end of this year. The announcement was made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a joint press conference with his United Kingdom counterpart Boris Johnson following delegation level talks in Hyderabad House on Friday. “We had launched an ambitious Roadmap 2030 to give direction to our relationship in this decade. In our conversation today, we reviewed the progress made in this roadmap, and set some targets for the times to come. “Teams of both countries are working on the Free Trade Agreement and good progress has been made in the negotiations. We have decided to conclude the FTA by the end of this year,” said Modi.
The Prime Minister said that in the last few months, India has concluded FTAs with the UAE and Australia. “At the same pace, with the same commitment, we would like to move forward on the FTA with the UK as well,” he said. Johnson said: “We are telling our negotiators to get the FTA done by Diwali.” Extending a warm welcome to Johnson, Modi called his visit “historic”.
“We have also agreed to enhance cooperation in the defense sector. We welcome the UK’s support for ‘Self-reliant India’ in all areas, including manufacturing, technology, design and development in the defense sector,” he said. India and the UK also reiterated their commitment on maintaining a free, open, inclusive and rules-based order in the Indo-Pacific. “We also discussed the many developments taking place at the regional and global level. We emphasized on maintaining a free, open, inclusive and rules-based order in the Indo-Pacific region. India welcomes the UK’s decision to join the Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative,” Modi said. Modi said the two leaders also discussed infrastructure modernization plan and the National Infrastructure Pipeline. “We welcome the growing investment in India by UK companies. And we got to see a great example of this yesterday in Halol in Gujarat.”
The Prime Minister said the conclusion of the implementation arrangements of the Global Innovation Partnership between the two countries will prove to be an important initiative. “This will further strengthen our development partnership with other countries. India and the UK will co-finance up to $100 million for transfer and scaling-up of ‘Made in India’ innovations to third countries,” he said.
He said that the two countries have decided to deepen climate and energy partnership. “We invite the UK to join India’s National Hydrogen Mission. I heartily welcome the establishment of Strategic Tech Dialogue between us,” Modi said. Russia’s war on Ukraine also featured in the talks between Modi and Johnson. The two leaders called for an immediate ceasefire and a return to dialogue and diplomacy to resolve the problem. “We also reiterated the importance of respect for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of all countries,” Modi said. The two countries reiterated their support for a peaceful, stable and secure Afghanistan and for an inclusive and representative government. Afghanistan should not be used to spread terrorism to other countries. Both Modi and Johnson said in the joint press conference.
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