Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday, 4 May, took to Twitter to say that he had had a productive Virtual Summit with United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson, adding that they had adopted an ‘ambitious’ Roadmap 2030 in order to deepen ties between India and the UK.
The two PMs welcomed the launch of the Enhanced Trade Partnership and also agreed upon several new initiatives in various fields. They also discussed cooperation with regard to the COVID-19 pandemic, PM Modi wrote.
The Enhanced Trade Partnership
The ETP aims to double the value of UK-India trade over the next decade and declare a shared intent to begin work towards a comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (FTA).
A free-trade deal with the world’s sixth-biggest economy would be a triumph for the UK government, which is making an effort to increase its trade with countries beyond the European Union following the the country’s departure from the political and economic union.
As per a statement from Johnson’s office, more than 6,500 new jobs will be created in the UK, owing to the one billion pounds of new UK-India trade and investment announced by the Prime Minister prior to the meet.
Downing Street added, “The package contains over 533 million pounds of new Indian investment in the UK, which is expected to create more than 6,000 jobs in vital and growing sectors such as health and technology.”
This also includes a GBP 240-million investment by the Serum Institute of India (SII) which will support Britain’s clinical trials, research and possibly vaccine production.
Modi and Johnson unveiled the ambitious 10-year roadmap after the summit, in a bid to enhance India-UK ties to a ‘comprehensive strategic partnership’ and boost cooperation in several important areas.
The roadmap outlined several corporative initiatives under the areas of politics, people-to-people cooperation, migration and mobility, education and enterprise, culture, connectivity, trade, finance, investment, economic cooperation, ‘smart and sustainable’ urbanisation, space, nuclear domain, international security, maritime trade, cyber security, military, climate, counter-terrorism and defence collaboration.
The statement read that it aimed for “revitalised and dynamic connections between people, investment and technological innovations that would serve in improving the lives of citizens, a more secure Indian Ocean region and Indo-Pacific region as well as leadership on climate, clean energy and health, which would act as a global force for good.”
The roadmap also proposes an annual strategic meeting between their respective foreign ministries to monitor its implementation.
MoU’s and Declarations
Further, a list of nine memorandums of understanding (MoU) and declarations were announced at the summit – MoU’s on Global Innovation partnership for transferring inclusive and climate smart innovations across developing countries, migration and mobility for facilitating movement of young professionals and students, telecommunication for enhancing telecom infrastructure and medical products regulation and pharmacopeia corporation for bettering the quality of medicines.
The announcement included joint declarations in the field of technology, India Energy Security Scenario Calculator and agreement on customs corporation.
‘Enhanced Employment Opportunities’
Addressing a news conference, Joint Secretary in the Europe West division in the MEA Sandeep Chakravorty said, the agreement between the two countries provides “enhanced employment opportunities for 3,000 young Indian professionals annually, in return for India agreeing to take back any of its citizens who are living illegally in the UK,” Reuters reported.
Chakravorty said that it was India’s “solemn duty” to take back Indian nationals who were undocumented, in distress abroad and were not being given nationality or residence permits.
According to Britain, the deal is purposed to attract "the best and brightest, and supporting people coming to the UK through legal routes, while stopping the abuse of the system and speeding up the removal of those who have no right to be in the UK,” Reuters reported.
On the extradition of Indian fugitives Vijay Mallya and Nirav Modi, Chakravorty said that that PM Modi mentioned sending the economic offenders, who are awaiting trial, back to India at the earliest.
MEA Statement on Talks
The Ministry of External Affairs on Tuesday said that PM Modi thanked PM Johnson for the prompt medical assistance provided by the UK amid the severe second COVID wave in India, according to ANI.
“UK was one of the first to respond, sending critical medical equipment, like oxygen concentrators, cylinders, ventilators, amongst others. The successful vaccine partnership through Oxford/AstraZeneca-SII collaboration was also discussed,” Chakravorty said.
The two PMs also agreed to expand partnership on vaccines, therapeutics as well as diagnostics on COVID-19 and beyond, through joint research including on nasal vaccines, the MEA said.
On vaccine cooperation, Chakravorty said PM Johnson informed PM Modi that Serum Institute of India is investing in the UK and it will be manufacturing vaccines there as well, reported PTI.
(With inputs from ANI and PTI.)
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