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2023: From Indian summer in UK to high-profile visits

2023: From Indian summer in UK to high-profile visits

As we prepare to bid adieu to another year, here’s a brief snapshot of the Year That Was 2023 – complete with high-profile visits including Britain’s first Prime Minister of Indian heritage receiving a grand welcome on his first official tour of India as PM.

Ahead of the much-anticipated visit to Delhi for the G20 Summit, Sunak hosted a special India Global Forum (IGF) reception to mark UK-India Week 2023 and declared an Indian summer in the offing.

The British Indian leader said: “UK-India Week is always a big moment in the calendar. But this year I think we’re going one better; it’s not just UK-India Week but a whole Indian summer.”

All of this played out against the backdrop of 13 rounds of the free trade agreement (FTA) negotiations being wrapped up, with the hope on both sides to agree a pact before an election year in India and the UK in 2024.

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On the other end of the political spectrum, the Opposition Labour Party also expressed its optimism over a UK-India FTA – with IGF’s Diwali reception celebrating this winning partnership in its cross-party spirit.

On the diaspora front, there was a flurry of activity from a grand new temple and a Hindi festival to high-achievers making a mark across different fields.

“Where I see the relationship really flourish is the fact that we have a wonderful diaspora. It is your expectations, your aspirations, your demands at times, which will make us do more, and I can assure you that as we look today at this relationship, it has an enormous promise,” said India’s External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar on an impactful visit towards the end of the year, with the depth of the bilateral ties reflected in his intimate tea-time invite to 10 Downing Street.

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At the close of 2023, what lies ahead is a promising New Year, not least from a democracy point of view with a shift into general election gear already visible in India and the UK.

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