Rishi Sunak is all set for his first visit to India as British Prime Minister for the G20 World Leaders’ Summit in New Delhi this weekend and the red carpet preparations have been going on for weeks.
“The Prime Minister said India was an indispensable partner of the UK, both economically and in addressing the global challenges all democracies are facing,” Downing Street said in a readout of Sunak’s Cabinet meeting ahead of the visit.
The statement added: “He said we must now strengthen the UK-India relationship. He said negotiations around a free trade deal were progressing and that he would only agree an approach which worked for the whole of the UK.
“The Prime Minister concluded Cabinet by setting out his desire to use our growing relationship in trade, defence, and technology to build a lasting and deep partnership with India which benefits the people of the UK for decades to come.”
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The UK-India free trade agreement (FTA) negotiations have completed 12 rounds and UK Business and Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch recently returned from India after a stock-take with her Indian counterpart, Piyush Goyal.
“The Business and Trade Secretary updated Cabinet on the trade deal negotiations, saying that India is already one of the UK’s largest trading partners, with a relationship worth £36 billion a year,” Downing Street said.
When Sunak – the first UK Prime Minister Indian heritage – touches down in Delhi with his Indian wife Akshata Murty, the couple are assured a grand welcome. Addressing the India Global Forum’s UK-India Week reception at 10 Downing Street in June, Sunak had expressed his excitement at the prospect of the upcoming visit.
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And, India has pulled out all the stops as its presidency of the G20 comes to a resounding conclusion this week with leaders of the world’s major economies converging upon New Delhi. The theme of “One Earth, One Family, One Future” has successfully showcased different cities of the country during the various sectoral meets over the course of the year and now the Indian capital is geared up for the grand finale.