Indian envoy holds talks with Braverman


The meeting follows Braverman’s controversial remarks last month that referenced the India-UK Migration and Mobility Partnership as not working very well in tackling illegal immigration and visa overstayers from India…reports Asian Lite News

Cooperation on migration and security issues was on the agenda at a meeting between UK Home Secretary Suella Braverman and Indian High Commissioner Vikram Doraiswami in London.

The envoy called on the Indian-origin Cabinet minister on Tuesday to discuss the India-UK security partnership and to “make progress” under the India-UK Migration and Mobility Partnership (MMP).

The meeting follows Braverman’s controversial remarks last month that referenced the MMP as not working very well in tackling illegal immigration and visa overstayers from India.

“High Commissioner Vikram Doraiswami called on HE Home Secretary Suella Braverman today to discuss India-UK security cooperation, and to make progress under the India-UK Migration and Mobility Partnership Agreement,” the Indian High Commission in London tweeted after the meeting.

Braverman in turn referenced the “strong partnership” shared between India and the UK.

“I look forward to working with our friends on mutually shared interests including security and migration,” she tweeted after the meeting.

It is seen as a conciliatory move after the Indian mission had countered the Home Secretary’s allegations that the agreement with the Indian government to encourage and facilitate better cooperation on illegal migration “has not necessarily worked very well”.

“As per data shared with the Home Office, as on date, action has been initiated on all of the cases referred to the High Commission. Further, the UK has also undertaken to fulfill certain commitments as part of the Migration and Mobility Protocol, on which we await demonstrable progress,” the High Commission of India said in a statement last month.

It is a widely held view that Braverman, then Home Secretary in the former prime minister Liz Truss led Cabinet, had derailed the ongoing India-UK free trade agreement (FTA) negotiations from its Diwali timeline by expressing “concerns” over what she feared would be an “open borders” policy for Indians.

“Look at migration in this country – the largest group of people who overstay are Indian migrants,” she said at the time.

On Wednesday, the recently launched India (Trade and Investment) All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) held its inaugural meeting in the Houses of Parliament complex where UK Trade Minister Greg Hands reiterated that the FTA negotiations remain ongoing.

“India is projected to be the world’s third largest economy by 2050 – offering major opportunities for UK firms,” Hands tweeted after the meeting.

The new cross-party UK parliamentary panel was created in July to promote trade, investment and people-to-people ties with India, backed up by British Indian think tank 1928 Institute.

The Co-Chairs of the APPG, Labour MP Navendu Mishra and Lord Karan Bilimoria, as well as APPG President Baroness Sandy Verma were among those present at the meeting, also attended by the Indian High Commissioner to the UK who spoke about the scope of bilateral cooperation in sunrise sectors such green economy and FinTech.

Sunak committed to FTA with India

Intensive negotiations continue towards a free trade agreement (FTA) between India and the UK and new British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is committed to achieving a balanced deal, Downing Street said on Wednesday.

Sunak, who took charge at 10 Downing Street last week, had a “very warm” introductory call with Prime Minister Narendra Modi during which both sides expressed their commitment towards an FTA.

The UK Prime Minister’s office also reiterated that the focus remains on a balanced trade deal that benefits both sides and therefore no timeframe is being specified after a proposed Diwali timeline had to be abandoned last month amid political turmoil in the UK.

“Both sides are very committed to it, intensive negotiations are continuing led by the Department for International Trade (DIT),” a spokesperson told reporters at a Downing Street briefing.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak speaking on the phone to Prime Minister Modi of India (Picture Credits: Twitter)

“The Prime Minister had a very warm, introductory call with Prime Minister Modi last week. In terms of the speed of it [FTA], we have been very clear that we won’t sacrifice quality to achieve speed. We will sign when we have a balanced deal that represents both of our interests but both sides remain committed,” the spokesperson said.

In his first phone call after taking charge as Prime Minister last week, Sunak had referenced “good progress” being made to finalise the FTA.

“The Prime Minister hoped the UK and India could continue to make good progress in negotiations to finalise a comprehensive Free Trade Agreement,” a Downing Street readout of the call said.

The two leaders are expected to meet in person at the G20 Summit in Indonesia later this month, unless they meet at the COP27 Summit in Egypt where the UK Prime Minister has confirmed attendance of the Leader’s Day but Modi’s visit is as yet unconfirmed.

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