India, UK keen on winding up FTA talks by year end

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the situation in Ukraine and Afghanistan were also discussed during the meeting…reports Asian Lite News

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said that India and the UK are working on closing the negotiations for a free trade agreement by the end of the year,

Addressing the joint media address after the bilateral talks with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson held at Hyderabad House, Modi said, “Recently we have concluded FTA talks with UAE and Australia. We wish to go for FTA with the UK with the same spirit and commitment.

“Last year, we established the strategic partnership and we have added the important Roadmap-2030 and during our talks, we reviewed the progress made in this direction and also set some goals,” Modi said.

He further said both countries have decided to enhance cooperation in the defence sector. “We welcome the UK as support in manufacturing, technology, design and development and other sectors for Aatmanirbhar Bharat,” Modi said.

Referring to the recent reforms initiated by India in infrastructure modernisation plan and National Infrastructure Pipeline, Modi said that India welcomes the increasing investments here by the UK companies and “we have seen such an example in Halol in Gujarat on Thursday.

“Around 1.6 million UK nationals of Indian origin have been making a positive contribution in the Indian economy and society as well. We are proud of those people of Indian origin, we want to further strengthen this bridge and in this direction, Prime Minister Johnson has personally helped a lot, I greet him for this,” the Indian Prime Minister said.

He also said that India has shown its commitment to fulfil the commitments made in COP-26 in Glasgow and decided to further enhance the partnership for climate and energy. “I invite the UK to join India’s National Hydrogen Mission and express my gratitude for setting up Strategic Tech Dialogue between the two countries,” Modi said.

“The conclusion of the implementation arrangements of the Global Innovation Partnership will prove to be a very important initiative between us today. This will further strengthen our partnership with other countries. Under this, India and the UK will co-finance up to $100 million for the transfer and scaling-up of “Made in India” innovations to third countries.

“These will also help in the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, and efforts to tackle climate change. This will prove to be very useful for our startups and MSME sector to explore new markets, and to globalise their innovations,” Modi said.

“We also discussed the many developments taking place at the regional and global level. We emphasised on maintaining the Indo-Pacific region based on a free, open, inclusive and rules-based order. India welcomes the UK’s decision to join the Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative,” the Indian Prime Minister said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the situation in Ukraine and Afghanistan were also discussed during the meeting.

“During our talks,” Modi said, “We stressed on dialogue and diplomacy in Ukraine for an immediate ceasefire and resolution of the problem. We also reiterated the importance of respect for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of all countries.

“We reiterated our support for a peaceful, stable and secure Afghanistan and for an inclusive and representative government,” Prime Minister Modi said, adding, “It is necessary that Afghan land should not be used to spread terrorism in other countries.”

Earlier, while addressing the media, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said, “I felt like Sachin Tendulkar upon my arrival and also felt like Amitabh Bachchan when I saw hoardings everywhere.”

The British Prime Minister had arrived in Ahmedabad on Thursday.

Clean Energy Push

The two countries also discussed new cooperation on clean and renewable energy, aimed at supporting India’s energy transition away from imported oil, increasing its resilience through secure and sustainable energy, and addressing climate change in both the countries.

The UK and India are launching a virtual Hydrogen Science and Innovation hub to accelerate affordable green hydrogen, setting up new funding for the Green Grids Initiative announced at COP26, and initiating collaboration on joint work on the electrification of public transport across India.

“As well as boosting our domestic energy and economic resilience, the UK and India are collaborating as a force for good globally. Our governments are committing up to £75 million to roll out adaptable cleantech innovations from India to the wider Indo-Pacific and Africa, and working together on international development and girl’s education,” the British government said.

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, who met Johnson just before the bilateral meeting, said, “Delighted to call on UK PM @BorisJohnson during his India visit. Discussed our expanding partnership and implementing the #IndiaUK Roadmap 2030.”

Johnson came to New Delhi last night, after visiting Gujarat. He was accorded a ceremonial reception at the Rashtrapati Bhawan in the morning.

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