In his first phone call with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said that he represented the historic links between the UK and India.
The 42-year-old, who took charge as the first British Indian incumbent at 10 Downing Street this week, praised the Indian leader’s vision on global challenges such as climate change and said he looked forward to meeting him at the G20 Summit in Indonesia next month.
“Prime Minister Modi conveyed his best wishes on the Prime Minister’s appointment on behalf of 1.6 billion Indians,” Downing Street said in a readout of the phone call.
The readout further noted: “The Prime Minister said he was a visual representation of the historic links between the UK and India, and intended to build on this relationship to develop ever closer ties between our two countries.
“Discussing shared global challenges, the Prime Minister praised Prime Minister Modi’s leadership on tackling climate change and the leaders welcomed opportunities to bolster our security, defence and economic partnership.”
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On the free trade agreement (FTA), Sunak expressed hope that the UK and India could continue to make “good progress” in negotiations to finalise a comprehensive agreement.
“The leaders also agreed to work together as two great democracies to strengthen the developing economies of the world, and looked forward to meeting in person at the G20 in Indonesia,” Downing Street added.
Meanwhile, UK Foreign Secretary James Cleverly arrives in India this week for his first official visit to the country to meet his Indian counterpart, External Affairs Minister Dr S. Jaishankar, and discuss strengthening the UK-India relationship.
He will land in Mumbai and then travel to New Delhi. In Mumbai, he will pay his respects to those who lost their lives in the city’s terror attack at the Taj Palace Hotel in 2008.
In New Delhi, he will address the Special Meeting of the UN Security Council Counter-Terrorism Committee. He will call on countries to work together to fight online terrorism – including global terror recruitment campaigns and live streaming of attacks.
With reference to his visit, Cleverly said: “Our relationship with India is hugely important to me; as the world’s largest democracy, India is a natural partner for the UK in the Indo-Pacific. It is an economic and tech powerhouse. Our deeper ties will boost both our economies and help to tackle global security challenges.
“I look forward to working even more closely with India when it takes up the G20 Presidency in December.”
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During his meeting with Dr Jaishankar, Cleverly will discuss the latest on the India-UK 2030 Roadmap, the landmark commitment to boost cooperation between the UK and India over the next decade under a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.
Since it was launched last year, the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) says huge progress has been made, including the start of ambitious free trade negotiations, the expansion of our defence and security partnership, including through a visit to India last year by HMS Queen Elizabeth and the Carrier Strike Group (CSG), and joint exercises to enhance cyber security collaboration.