New Delhi: The UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson will visit India this week to “deepen” the long-term partnership amidst the global economic challenges and “threats” from autocratic states.
The visit will commence from Ahmedabad on April 21, wherein he will meet with leading businesses and discuss the UK and India’s thriving commercial, trade and people links. This will be the first time that a UK Prime Minister would visit Gujarat, India’s fifth largest state and the ancestral home of around half of the British-Indian population in the UK.
The British Prime Minister will then travel to New Delhi to meet Prime Minister Modi on April 22, a statement by the British embassy here said.
The leaders will hold in-depth talks on the UK and India’s strategic defence, diplomatic and economic partnership, aimed at bolstering the close partnership and stepping up security co-operation in the Indo-Pacific.
In Gujarat, Johnson is expected to announce major investment in key industries in both — the UK and India, boosting jobs and growth at home, as well as new collaboration on cutting-edge science, health and technology.
He will use the visit to drive progress in the Free Trade Agreement negotiations launched earlier this year — a deal with India is predicted to boost our total trade by up to $36.57 billion annually by 2035 and increase wages across the UK by up to $4 billion.
Speaking ahead of the visit, Johnson said: “As we face threats to our peace and prosperity from autocratic states, it is vital that democracies and friends stick together. India, as a major economic power and the world’s largest democracy, is a highly valued strategic partner for the UK in these uncertain times.”
“My visit to India will deliver on the things that really matter to the people of both our nations — from job creation and economic growth, to energy security and defence,” he added.
In 2021, the British Prime Minister and Prime Minister Modi agreed on a UK-India Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, announcing more than $692 million in investment into the UK and committing to a deeper bilateral relationship across trade, health, climate, defence and security, and connecting people of the two nations.
India was identified as a priority relationship for the UK in the 2021 Integrated Review and was invited by the UK as a guest to last year’s G7 in Carbis Bay.
The UK is leveraging post-Brexit trade opportunities with India’s growing economy to drive down prices in key commodities for consumers, open opportunities for UK businesses in areas like green tech and services, and create high-wage, high-skill jobs.
Investment from Indian companies already supports 95,000 jobs across the UK, which is expected to be boosted by upcoming announcements and a future free trade deal.