UK PM Boris Johnson begins two-day India visit; to announce slew of commercial pacts - See pics

On Friday morning, Johnson will attend a ceremonial reception at Rashtrapati Bhawan and later a wreath-laying at the Samadhi of Mahatma Gandhi.

FPJ Web DeskUpdated: Thursday, April 21, 2022, 11:04 AM IST
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UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Thursday landed in Gujarat's Ahmedabad for a two-day visit to India. Boris Johnson's visit will focus on stepping up cooperation in the Indo-Pacific, giving momentum to negotiations on Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the two countries as well as enhancing defence ties.

Johnson started his visit from Ahmedabad where he is scheduled to meet with leading business group leaders and discuss the UK and India's thriving commercial, trade, and people's links. This will be the first time a UK Prime Minister will visit Gujarat, India's fifth-largest state and the ancestral home of around half of the British-Indian population in the UK.

On Friday morning, Johnson will attend a ceremonial reception at Rashtrapati Bhawan and later a wreath-laying at the Samadhi of Mahatma Gandhi.

The UK Prime Minister will then travel to New Delhi to meet Prime Minister Modi on April 22 where the leaders will hold in-depth talks on the UK and India's strategic defence, diplomatic and economic partnership, aimed at bolstering close partnership and stepping up security cooperation in the Indo-Pacific.

The UK Prime Minister will also hold talks with External Affairs Minister (EAM) S Jaishankar. On the same afternoon, the two sides will issue a press statement at around 1 pm at Hyderabad House.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Wednesday that his long-delayed visit to India will deepen the strategic trade, defence and people-to-people ties between the two countries.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will announce a raft of commercial agreements and hail a "new era" in bilateral trade and investment ties during his visit to India, the UK High Commission said on Thursday shortly before he landed in Gujarat.

It said the UK and Indian businesses will confirm more than one billion pounds ((1 GBP= Rs 99.63) in new investments and export deals in areas from software engineering to health, creating almost 11,000 jobs across the UK.

"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," Johnson was quoted as saying by the high commission.

"Our powerhouse partnership is delivering jobs, growth and opportunities for our people, and it will only go from strength-to-strength in the coming years," he said.

Ahead of Johnson's two-day visit, Downing Street has stressed that the UK would not look to "lecture" India over its neutral stance in the United Nations or its decision to hike Russian oil imports. The UK has been trying to persuade India to reduce its reliance on Moscow since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24.

Addressing the House of Commons for his weekly Prime Minister's Questions (PMQs), Johnson said the trip to Ahmedabad and New Delhi will build on India being invited as a guest country for the G7 Summit hosted by the UK in Cornwall in June last year.

"I will be travelling to India to deepen the strategic trade, defence and people- to-people ties between our two countries, building on India's involvement in the Carbis Bay G7 summit," Johnson told members of Parliament.

It will be Johnson's first major trip to India as Prime Minister after previous visits were postponed due to Covid.

"I will be seeing Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi in Delhi, meeting Indian business people investing in the UK and visiting British investments in India," he said.

(With inputs from Agencies)

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