“Discussed a broad range of issues, from FTA [free trade agreement] and South Asia to Indo-Pacific and G20. Underlined the obligation to ensure security of our diplomatic missions and prevent misuse of democratic freedoms,” said Dr S. Jaishankar, India’s External Affairs Minister, following his talks with Lord Tariq Ahmad this week.
Lord Ahmad, UK’s Minister of State for South Asia, is in India on a visit with a focus on strengthening bilateral science, research and innovation links.
Lord Ahmad said: “The UK and India are trusted partners united by the unique living bridge that closely connects our countries and people.
“Building on the 2030 Roadmap for India-UK future relations, we are deepening our collaboration on science and technology, bringing new innovations to both our nations.”
The visit comes as India and the UK continue to negotiate an FTA, which is expected to significantly boost the current trading relationship worth £36 billion in 2022. The 10th round of talks is scheduled for next week in New Delhi.
However, what makes this particular visit special for Lord Ahmad is a visit to Rajasthan – his first trip to his mother’s birthplace of Jodhpur as Minister for South Asia, during which he visited the iconic Mehrangarh Fort, and discussed education, sustainability and gender equality with emerging women leaders.
In New Delhi, Lord Ahmad launched the ‘English Skills for Youth’ programme, co-developed by the British Council and Microsoft India, which will enhance global employment opportunities for Indian young people, especially young women. The Minister also announced the winners of the UK-India Health-Tech Boot camp boosting health-tech innovations from India.
Christina Scott, Acting British High Commissioner to India, said: “The UK and India enjoy an invaluable partnership. As we deliver the UK-India Roadmap 2030, we are deepening and accelerating our collaboration on health, climate, trade, education, science and technology, and defence.
“With India's Presidency of the G20, we have an opportunity also for the UK and India to work together to shape and deliver solutions to global problems.”
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Concluding his visit in Hyderabad, Lord Ahmad will highlight science and tech innovations with trips to T-Hub and T-Works, the technology start-up incubator and prototyping facility which are part of the world’s largest innovation campus, and space launch vehicle company Skyroot. He will also visit the National Institute of Animal Biotechnology and discuss further potential for science and technology collaboration with Indian alumni of Chevening, the UK’s flagship international scholarship programme.