Lord Karan Bilimoria, a very vocal champion of closer UK-India relations, is pushing for Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to lead a significant business and trade delegation to India soon. A visit by the UK’s first Prime Minister of Indian heritage will be hugely symbolic and is long overdue, he feels, with the last one now seven years ago.
Lord Bilimoria said: “Prime Minister Rishi Sunak must soon lead a jumbo jet packed delegation to India, which is long overdue.
“The last prime ministerial delegation from the UK to India was in 2016, which is quite a gap. It would be just the ticket to celebrate the diaspora living bridge and push forward the relationship.”
The subject of visits to India was very much the topic of the hour when he interacted with Sunak and King Charles III during a special reception to mark the Coronation at Westminster Hall in the Houses of Parliament complex this week (pictured). Lord Bilimoria, the Founder of Cobra Beer and former president of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), also raised the matter with the King and called for a State Visit by the monarch to India.
MORE LIKE THIS…
“We know that the King is a friend of India and has great fondness for the country. He said he would love to go to India on a State Visit and that we should plan it soon,” he said.
Lord Bilimoria believes the grandeur associated with a State Visit is exactly the kind of impetus needed for the ongoing free trade agreement (FTA) talks between the two countries and could “turbocharge” the bilateral relationship.
The UK and India have conducted nine rounds of discussions since the FTA talks began in January last year. The mutual goal is to clinch a comprehensive agreement that would significantly enhance the trading relationship worth an estimated £34 billion in 2022.
MORE LIKE THIS…
Meanwhile, Sunak is expected to meet Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the G7 Summit scheduled in Japan later this month.