Ties with India grew stronger in 2022, says UK envoy

In the video message, posted on his Twitter account, Alex Ellis says 2022 was a great year for India and Britain, and this year UK and India have made their relationship more strong…reports Asian Lite News

UK Ambassador to India Alex Ellis wished India a “Happy New Year” and said that the relationship between the two countries has become stronger this year.

In the video message, posted on his Twitter account, Ellis said, “2022 was a great year for India and the UK, and this year UK and India have made their relationship more strong.” Talking about the economical relationship, Ellis said that India and UK have launched the Free Trade Agreement negotiations this year.

On December 16, India and UK held technical discussions across 11 policy areas over 28 sessions during the sixth round of talks for an FTA.

In a joint outcome statement on the UK-India sixth round of FTA negotiations, the UK government’s Department of International Trade said that detailed draft treaty text discussions were held across the 11 policy areas.

“Secondly, on climate change and sustainability, we have been supporting India’s rapid transition toward a green economy for ex: investment in the Mahindra EV Company. Thirdly, on health, building on the great work of Covishield, we now have Ebola vaccines manufactured in India with UK technology going to Africa,” Ellis said.

“On Defence and Security, we are increasing cooperation particularly at sea and in cyberspace to ensure that there is a free and open Indo-Pacific,” he added.

He further said that India and UK have reduced the time for visas. An e-Visa for British nationals visiting India will also come out.

On December 5, High Commissioner of India to the UK Vikram K Doraiswami announced that India will resume the e-Visa facility for UK citizens travelling to the country.

Doraiswami said that the service will be made available to the citizens forthwith and the dates will be announced shortly. He further added that the resumption of the facility will enable friends from the UK to travel far more easily to India.

“And of course, we have a PM whose grandparents came from Punjab called Rishi Sunak. Great year, much to do next year. A great year for the G20 in India,” Ellis said in a video message.

“The journey is still left and I wish everyone a happy new year,” he concluded the video message.

India and Britain launched negotiations for the FTA in January with an aim to conclude talks by Diwali (October 24), but the deadline was missed due to political developments in the UK. There are 26 chapters in the agreement, which include goods, services, investments and intellectual property rights.

Reduction or elimination of customs duty under the pact would help Indian labour-intensive sectors like textiles, leather, gems and jewellery to boost exports in the UK market. The UK is seeking duty concessions in areas like Scotch whiskey and automobiles.

The bilateral trade between the two countries increased to $17.5 billion in 2021-22 compared to $13.2 billion in 2020-21. India’s exports stood at $10.5 billion in 2021-22, while imports were $7 billion.

India’s main exports to the UK include ready-made garments and textiles, gems and jewellery, engineering goods, petroleum and petrochemical products, transport equipment and parts, spices, metal products, machinery and instruments, pharma and marine items.

Major imports include precious and semi-precious stones, ores and metal scraps, engineering goods, professional instruments, non-ferrous metals, chemicals and machinery.

The UK is also a key investor in India. New Delhi attracted foreign direct investment of $1.64 billion in 2021-22. The figure was about $32 billion between April 2000 and March 2022.

In the services sector, the UK is one of the largest markets in Europe for Indian IT services. (ANI)

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