New Delhi, (Asian independent) India and the UK on Tuesday adopted an ambitious ‘Roadmap 2030’ to elevate bilateral ties to a “Comprehensive Strategic Partnership” between the two countries in major sectors covering trade, defence and climate security.
The roadmap will pave the way for a deeper and stronger engagement over the next ten years in the key areas of people-to-people contacts, trade and economy, defence and security, climate action and health, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) said in a statement.
The decisions were taken in a virtual summit attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his British counterpart Boris Johnson — a move ahead as both the countries already enjoy long standing friendly ties and share a Strategic Partnership underpinned by mutual commitment to democracy, fundamental freedoms and the rule of law, strong complementarities and growing convergences.
The two leaders also discussed the Covid-19 situation and ongoing cooperation in the fight against the pandemic, including the successful partnership on vaccines.
PM Modi thanked PM Johnson for the prompt medical assistance provided by the UK in the wake of the severe second wave of Covid-19 in India.
Johnson appreciated India’s role in extending assistance to the UK and other countries over the last year, including by way of supply of pharmaceuticals and vaccines.
The two Prime Ministers launched an ‘Enhanced Trade Partnership’ (ETP) to unleash the trade potential between the 5th and 6th largest economies of the world and by setting an ambitious target of more than doubling bilateral trade by 2030.
“As part of the ETP, India and the UK agreed on a roadmap to negotiate a comprehensive and balanced FTA, including consideration of an Interim Trade Agreement for delivering early gains. The enhanced trade partnership between India and UK will generate several thousands of direct and indirect jobs in both the countries,” the statement said.
The UK is India’s second largest partner in research and innovation collaborations. A new India-UK ‘Global Innovation Partnership’ was announced at the Virtual Summit that aims to support the transfer of inclusive Indian innovations to select developing countries, starting with Africa.
Both sides agreed to enhance cooperation on new and emerging technologies, including Digital and ICT products, and work on supply chain resilience. They also agreed to strengthen defence and security ties, including in the maritime, counter-terrorism and cyberspace domains.
Both Prime Ministers also exchanged views on regional and global issues of mutual interest, including cooperation in the Indo-Pacific, and G7. They reiterated commitment to climate action to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement and agreed to closely engage in the run up to CoP26 hosted by the UK later this year.
India and the UK launched a comprehensive partnership on migration and mobility that will facilitate greater opportunities for the mobility of students and professionals between the two countries.
Modi expressed his desire to be able to welcome Prime Minister Johnson in India as per his convenience after the situation stabilizes. PM Johnson also reiterated his invitation to Prime Minister Modi to visit UK for the G-7 Summit.