India, UK to ink £1 bn trade deal

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The deal envisages the creation of more than 6,500 jobs and over 533 million pounds of new Indian investment into the UK, reports Asian Lite News

Ahead of the virtual summit between PM Narendra Modi and UK PM Boris Johnson, the British government announced a trade and investment deal worth 1 billion pounds with India.

The two leaders are expected to formalize the Enhanced Trade Partnership during their talks later on Tuesday. The ETP will set the ambition to double the value of the bilateral trade by 2030 and declare a “shared intent” to work towards a comprehensive Free Trade Agreement.

As per Downing Street, the deal envisages the creation of more than 6,500 jobs and over 533 million pounds of new Indian investment into the UK.

The deal comes amidst reports that the two countries are close to signing a “migration and mobility partnership”, which could see thousands more Indian students enrol at UK universities in exchange for illegal Indian migrants being sent back.

“London and New Delhi are on the cusp of signing a ‘migration and mobility partnership’, which is part of a wider move towards bolstering relations that aims at securing a mini trade deal later this year,” a report in ‘The Daily Telegraph’ claims.

“Government insiders say the talks are still live and final details are yet to be ironed out, but the deal represents an important step on two key sticking points that have hampered bilateral relations in recent years. There are hopes that the agreement could be clinched as early as this week, when Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, India’s foreign minister, is in London for multilateral talks with the G7, hosted by Dominic Raab,” it notes.

SII to invest 240M in UK

The Serum Institute of India (SII) will invest 240 million pounds in the UK to expand its vaccine business and create multiple jobs in the country. The investment is part of the 1 billion-pound India-UK Enhanced Trade Partnership that will create nearly 6,500 jobs in Britain.

The investment by the Adar Poonawalla-run SII will also see opening of a new sales office in the UK.

The SII has also begun phase 1 trials in the UK of a nasal vaccine against coronavirus, in partnership with Codagenix INC.

“The sales office is expected to generate new business worth over 1 billion pounds, 200 million pounds of which will be invested in the U.K. Serum’s investment will support clinical trials, research and development and possibly manufacturing of vaccines,” said the official statement from the Downing Street.

“Serum’s investment will support clinical trials, research and development and possibly manufacturing of vaccines. This will help the UK and the world to defeat the coronavirus pandemic and other deadly diseases. Serum has already started phase one trials in the UK of a one-dose nasal vaccine for coronavirus, in partnership with Codagenix INC,” the statement added.

The SII investment came after news reports claimed that India has not placed fresh orders for Covid vaccines with the Serum Institute of India (SII) and Bharat BioTech since March.

The Indian government and the SII refuted the reports.

Poonawalla said his company has received orders for 26 crore doses from the Indian government.

“As of today, we received total orders of over 26 crore doses of which we supplied more than 15 crore doses. We have also got 100 per cent advance of Rs 1,732.50 crore by GoI for the next tranche of 11 crore doses in the next few months. Another 11 crore doses would be supplied in the second channel for states and private hospitals in the next few months,” Poonawalla said in a statement.

The Financial Times had reported Poonawalla as saying that vaccine shortage could continue in India till July.

The production is expected to increase from about 60 million-70 million doses a month to 100 million in July, Poonawalla was quoted as saying in the report.

Poonawalla said that his comments may have been “misinterpreted”.

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