Modi Lauds King Charles

Prime Minister Modi briefs King Charles on India’s priorities for its G20 Presidency, including the propagation of digital public goodsd…reports Asian Lite News

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke with King Charles III on the telephone and discussed several subjects including climate change, biodiversity conservation, and solutions for the financing energy transition.

As this was the Indian PM’s first conversation with King Charles III after he assumed the Office of Sovereign of the United Kingdom, he conveyed his best wishes to monarch for a very successful reign.

During the conversation, Modi expressed his appreciation for the abiding interest and advocacy of King Charles III on these issues.

The Prime Minister briefed him on India’s priorities for its G20 Presidency, including the propagation of digital public goods.

He also explained the relevance of Mission LiFE – Lifestyle for Environment, through which India seeks to promote environmentally sustainable lifestyles.

The leaders exchanged views on the Commonwealth of Nations and how to further strengthen its functioning.

They also appreciated the role of the Indian community in the UK in acting as a “living bridge” between both countries and enriching bilateral relations.

India and UK are engaged in negotiations for finalisation of a Free Trade Agreement. UK Secretary of State for International Trade Kemi Badenoch had visited New Delhi last month to carry forward the FTA negotiations. She held discussions with Union Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal. The two sides also discussed bilateral trade and economic relations.

The sixth round of negotiations between India and the UK to finalise a free trade agreement (FTA) concluded in December with detailed draft treaty discussions across 11 policy areas over 28 separate sessions, the British government said on Thursday.

The UK’s Department for International Trade (DIT) issued a joint outcome statement to confirm that the latest round, initiated by UK Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch and Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal on December 12, concluded last Friday. The seventh round of talks, expected to be held in the UK, is “due to take place in early 2023”.

“Technical discussions were held across 11 policy areas over 28 separate sessions. They included detailed draft treaty text discussions in these policy areas,” the DIT statement reads.

As with the previous five official-level rounds, the DIT said the latest round was conducted in a hybrid fashion during which a number of UK officials travelled to New Delhi for negotiations and others attended virtually.

The joint outcome statement reads: “On 12-13 December, the Secretary of State for International Trade, Rt Hon Kemi Badenoch MP, visited India to initiate the sixth round of the UK-India free trade agreement (FTA) negotiations. She met with Piyush Goyal, Honourable Minister for Commerce and Industry, Government of India, where they welcomed the newest round of talks and discussed wider trade and investment opportunities for the UK and India.

“On 16 December 2022, the United Kingdom and the Republic of India concluded the sixth round of talks for a UK-India FTA.”

According to official UK government data, India-UK bilateral trade currently stands at around GBP 29.6 billion a year. Both sides formally launched FTA negotiations at the start of this year with former prime minister Boris Johnson announcing a Diwali deadline for its conclusion. However, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak committed to working “at pace” towards an FTA that does not “sacrifice quality for speed” after that October deadline was missed amid political turmoil in the UK.

The UK government has said its target for the FTA is to achieve a deal to cut tariffs and open opportunities for UK services such as financial and legal, making it easier for British businesses to sell to the India economy.

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