Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Two-Day visit to India on April 21 and 22 – UKMALAYALEE

Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Two-Day visit to India on April 21 and 22

Sunday 17 April 2022 8:10 AM UTC

LONDON April 17: UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is to travel to India this week to discuss trade and security with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has taken a neutral stance on Russia’s war in Ukraine.

This will be Johnson’s first visit to India since becoming PM and follows the UK’s announcement of its post-Brexit Indo-Pacific foreign and defence policy tilt, in which India has been identified as a priority relationship for the UK.

Johnson said the visit on April 21-22 would focus on what he said were “the things that really matter to the people of both our nations- from job creation and economic growth, to energy security and defence”.

“India, as a major economic power and the world’s largest democracy, is a highly valued strategic partner for the UK in these uncertain times,” he added.

Johnson’s office said he and Prime Minister Modi would hold “in-depth talks” in Delhi on April 22 on their “strategic defence, diplomatic and economic partnership”, in the hope of bolstering that partnership and increasing “security co-operation” in the Asia-Pacific.

Johnson and Modi will exchange views on regional and global issues of mutual interest, said the Indian government in a statement. Ukraine is likely to dominate the discussions on international issues with Johnson expected to brief Modi about his recent visit to Kyiv.

The visit will follow Russia’s decision on Saturday to ban Johnson and many of his ministers from the country.

Apart from Ukraine, talks are also expected to focus on bilateral trade with the two leaders looking for ways to further expedite negotiations for a free trade agreement. India and the UK recently concluded the second round of talks for the proposed agreement.

“PM Johnson will be accorded a ceremonial welcome at Rashtrapati Bhavan and will hold bilateral consultations with the PM on 22 April. India and the UK enjoy a long and historical relationship which was elevated to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership during the India-UK Virtual Summit in 2021,” said the government statement.

The British PM will first visit Ahmedabad on April 21. This will be the first time a British PM has visited Gujarat, the ancestral home of around half of the British-Indian population in the UK.

“As we face threats to our peace and prosperity from autocratic states, it is vital that democracies and friends stick together,” Johnson said in a statement before the visit, his first to India as British leader.

Britain and India hold divergent views on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. While London has imposed economic sanctions on Moscow and supplied weapons to Kyiv, Modi’s government has not openly condemned the Kremlin or backed a UN Security Council vote that deplored Moscow’s “aggression” against its neighbour.

India says Russia is a long-term friend and an essential pillar of its foreign policy, and it relies on a strategic partnership with Moscow for its national security.

Since Britain’s departure from the European Union, the conservative government has sought to boost trade and security ties with countries in the Asia-Pacific.

On April 21, Johnson will visit Ahmedabad, the main city in the state of Gujarat, the “ancestral home” of around half the British-Indian population in Britain, the former colonial power.

Downing Street said Johnson was expected in Gujarat to announce investments in “key industries” in Britain and India and collaboration on science, health and technology.

He will also attempt to make headway in negotiations on a free trade agreement between Britain and India which could, according to his office, boost bilateral trade “by up to £28 billion ($37 billion, 34 billion euros) annually by 2035”.

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