India, UK Keen for Finalizing FTA by End of 2022

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his British counterpart Boris Johnson on Friday announced plans to deepen the India-UK defense relationship and to complete a free trade agreement (FTA) by the end of the year.

On the second day of his visit to India, Johnson conducted wide-ranging talks with Modi against the background of the UK’s persistent campaign to negotiate a trade pact with India that is projected to enhance two-way commerce by billions of euros.

The two prime ministers discussed the progress made in implementing the ‘Roadmap 2030,’ which sets ambitious goals for partnership in five sectors, including defense and security cooperation, trade and investment, and future ambitions.

Following the talks with Johnson, Modi issued a statement to the media saying that progress on an FTA had been made.

“Both countries’ teams are working on a free trade pact.” The negotiations are going well. And we’ve resolved to do everything we can to complete the FTA before the end of the year,” Modi stated in Hindi. Both leaders, according to Johnson, are ordering their negotiators to complete the FTA by Diwali in October.

He stated that the two countries have reached an agreement on a new and extended defense and security alliance. He stated that the UK would establish an India-specific open general export licensing regime to speed up the delivery of defense procurements.

Both parties stressed the need of sustaining a free, open, inclusive, and rules-based order in the Indo-Pacific, according to Modi. He also expressed India’s delight at the United Kingdom’s decision to join the Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative.

“We reaffirmed our commitment to a peaceful, stable, and secure Afghanistan, as well as to a government that is inclusive and representative.” “It is imperative that Afghan soil not be exploited to spread terrorism in other countries,” Modi stated. Modi emphasized the importance of communication and diplomacy in the Ukraine situation, calling for a “rapid truce and resolution of the matter.” “We also stressed the significance of respect for all countries’ territorial integrity and sovereignty,” he said.

Johnson called the UK-India relationship “one of our time’s defining friendships”. During the virtual summit between Modi and Johnson in 2021, the India-UK relationship was raised to a comprehensive strategic alliance. The two countries also agreed to a 10-year road map to strengthen ties in areas including as commerce and investment, defense and security, climate change, healthcare, and people-to-people relations.

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