British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will visit India on April 21 to hold talks with his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi.
“My visit to India will deliver on the things that really matter to the people of both our nations – from job creation and economic growth, to energy security and defence,” Johnson said, according a statement by his office.
The statement said that Johnson will use the visit to drive progress in the Free Trade Agreement negotiations launched earlier this year. The deal with India is expected to boost Britain’s trade by up to £28 billion (over 27.91 lakh crore) annually by 2035 and increase incomes across the UK by up to £3 billion (more than Rs 29,901 crore), it said.
The two leaders are expected to finalise a timeline to complete the negotiations, reported PTI.
Johnson and Modi had announced the trade agreement in May. It is expected to facilitate the target of doubling bilateral trade between India and the UK by 2030, India’s commerce ministry had said in January.
Johnson will land in Ahmedabad on April 21, where he is expected to announce investment in key industries of both India and the United Kingdom meant to boost jobs and growth in Britain, the statement said.
The British prime minister will then head to Delhi the next day to meet Modi. The two leaders will discuss matters of strategic defence, diplomatic and economic partnership that are aimed at bolstering the ties between the two countries and step up security cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region.
“As we face threats to our peace and prosperity from autocratic states, it is vital that democracies and friends stick together,” Johnson said. “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.”
This is the first time a British prime minister will visit Gujarat, the ancestral home of around half of the British-Indian population in the UK, the statement said.
It said that the UK was looking to leverage its trade opportunities with India to drive down prices in key commodities for consumers, open opportunities for UK businesses in areas like green technology and services, and create high-wage, high-skill jobs.
“Investment from Indian companies already supports 95,000 jobs across the UK, which is expected to be boosted by upcoming announcements and a future free trade deal,” it added.
In January, India’s exports to the UK stood at $8.15 billion (over Rs 60,000 crore) in 2020-’21 while the imports were worth $4.95 billion (over Rs 36,000 crore).
The country’s imports from Britain include precious and semi-precious stones, ores and metal scraps, engineering goods, chemicals and machinery.
Last year, India and the UK had also agreed to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, announcing over £530 million (over Rs 5,283 crore) in investment into Britain and a deeper bilateral relationship across trade, health, climate, defence and security.