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'We're Democracies, We Stick Together': PM Johnson on UK-India Relationship

In Gujarat on Thursday, Boris Johnson said India and UK both share anxieties about autocracies around the world.

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'We're Democracies, We Stick Together': PM Johnson on UK-India Relationship
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UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson landed in Gujarat's Ahmedabad on the morning of Thursday, 21 April, commencing his two-day visit to India.

He was received by Bhupendrabhai Patel, the chief minister of Gujarat, at Ahmedabad Airport.

"It's fantastic to be in India, the world's largest democracy," he tweeted after reaching Gujarat.

Johnson along with Gujarat CM Patel also visited a JCB factory at Halol GIDC, Panchmahal and was also seen climbing aboard a bulldozer.

He toured the facility with Tory donor Lord Bamford, who owns the company.

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson climbs onto a JCB at the new JCB Factory in Vadodara, in India's Gujarat state, part of two day trip to India, Thursday.

(Photo: PTI)

This comes amid a hue and cry in India over bulldozers, which have recently been used for several demolition drives in the country in areas that have experienced communal violence.

Johnson later visited the Akshardham Temple in Gandhinagar.

Opportunity for India, UK to Deepen Security, Defence Partnership

Speaking in Gujarat, PM Johnson said that UK is hoping to complete another free trade agreement with India by the end of the year, by the autumn, reported news agency ANI.

He added that there an opportunity for India and UK to deepen their security and defence partnership.

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Johnson further stated that India and UK both share anxieties about autocracies around the world. "We're both democracies and we want to stick together," the British prime minister added.

Earlier on Thursday, Johnson also met Chairman of Adani Group, Gautam Adani, in Ahmedabad.

Bhupendrabhai Patel welcoming Boris Johnson. 

(Photo: Twitter/@Bhupendrapbjp)

Visit to Sabarmati Ashram

Johnson also visited Mahatma Gandhi's Ashram in Sabarmati, where he tried using the iconic charkha, or the spinning wheel.

After the visit, he wrote in the visitor's book, "It is an immense privilege to come to the Ashram of this extraordinary man, and to understand how he mobilised such simple principles of truth and non-violence to change the world for the better."

Boris Johnson trying the charkha. 

(Photo: PTI)

Bhupendrabhai Patel and Boris Johnson at Mahatma Gandhi's Ashram in Sabarmati. 

(Photo: PTI)

Bhupendrabhai Patel and Boris Johnson at Mahatma Gandhi's Ashram in Sabarmati. 

(Photo: PTI)

British and Indian businesses will soon announce investments and export deals worth more than £1 billion in fields like software engineering and health.

Apart from science and tech collaborations, the deal is expected to include new AI scholarships for Indian students jointly funded by the British government's Chevening programme and India's Adani Group.

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Trade Relations, Defence Ties, and Ukraine

The UK prime minister is expected to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday.

Johnson will reportedly seek to deepen trade relations with a fresh push to the proposed free-trade agreement, boost Indo-Pacific cooperation, strengthen defence ties, and also discuss the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The prime minister, however, hasn't said that he will persuade PM Modi to toughen India's stance on the war.

"I've already talked to Narendra Modi about Ukraine and actually the Indians have condemned what happened in Bucha, they have been quite forceful in what they have said. But the UK in particular has to recognise that there is a historic relationship that India has with Russia, I think we have to be alive to that," the prime minister had said.

"As I arrive in India today, I see vast possibilities for what our two great nations can achieve together. From next-generation 5G telecoms and AI to new partnerships in health research and renewable energy – the UK and India are leading the world," he had added, reported by The Guardian.

(With inputs from The Guardian, ANI and PTI.)

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Topics:  UK PM Boris Johnson 

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Published: 
Edited By :Saundarya Talwar
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