“I have just returned from the G20 summit in India. For the record, let me declare that, as is a matter of public record, I and my family are of Indian origin, and my wife and her family are Indian citizens with financial interests in India,” Sunak told the House of Commons in his parliamentary statement this week after his return from the G20 Summit in New Delhi.
“I held warm and productive discussions with Prime Minister Modi on strengthening our relationship in defence, technology and a free trade deal between our nations,” he said.
Asked about the free trade agreement (FTA) negotiations, now in their 13th round, Sunak reiterated his stance about not rushing a deal with “arbitrary deadlines”.
In response to questions from all sides of the Commons, he stressed: “We only need a deal that works for the British people and delivers on our priorities. That is why it is right not to rush these things, as he would do, clearly. We do not put arbitrary deadlines on them. I take the time to make sure that they are right for the British people.
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“We do make, and have made, substantial progress, but as I said, there is hard work left to do and that is why we will we keep at it. But it is right that we do not put arbitrary deadlines on these trade deals and that we keep going until they work for the British people, British companies and the British government. That is what we will endeavour to do. As I say, we have made lots of progress, but we will not sign a deal unless it is right for the United Kingdom.”
The British Indian leader highlighted three key aims of his first visit to India as UK Prime Minister for the G20 Summit as:
To increase diplomatic pressure on Russia and call out its “shameful disruption” of global food supplies in the Black sea
To show the world that democracies such as the UK, not authoritarian regimes, are leading the fight on global challenges such as development and climate change
To strengthen ties and forge new partnerships to deliver jobs, growth and security for the British people
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“At a time of rapid change, we are bringing British values and British leadership to bear on the biggest global challenges,” he concluded.