Jaishankar, Lord Ahmad discuss FTA, Indo-Pacific


UK government said strengthening the relationship with India is a key pillar of the UK’s long-term foreign policy…reports Asian Lite News

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Monday held a meeting with Minister of State for Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Affairs Lord Tariq Ahmad and discussed a range of issues including Free Trade Agreement, Indo-Pacific and G20.

“Met with UK MOS Lord @tariqahmadbt today in New Delhi. Discussed a broad range of issues, from FTA and South Asia to Indo-Pacific and G20. Underlined the obligation to ensure security of our diplomatic missions and prevent misuse of democratic freedoms,” Jaishankar said in a tweet. UK and India are working towards a mutually beneficial Free Trade Agreement (FTA). The ninth round of negotiations for a free trade agreement between India and the UK was held from April 24 to 28.

Lord Tariq Ahmad, who is Minister of State for Foreign Commonwealth & Development Affairs (South Asia, MEastNAfrica, UN, Human Rights) PM’s Special Envoy for Preventing Sexual Violence, landed in India on May 27. After his arrival in India, he travelled to Jodhpur.

“…I arrived in Jodhpur, my maternal ancestral home. 76 years after my mother bid farewell to the Blue City I say ‘Salaam Jodhpur- Namaste Rajasthan’,” he said in a tweet.

“Jodhpur’s Mehrangarh Fort is steeped in a rich and diverse history. Pleasure touring the fort today to learn more about its architecture, restoration and conservation work,” he added.

The UK government had said that focus of Lord Tariq Ahmad’s visit on science, technology and innovation emphasises the UK’s commitment to deepening partnerships in these areas across the globe – evidenced by the recent announcement of a new Tech Envoy to the Indo-Pacific.

“Strengthening the UK-India relationship is a key pillar of the UK’s long-term foreign policy, as part of its enduring engagement in the Indo-Pacific set out in the Integrated Review Refresh,” it said.

UK and India are working towards a mutually beneficial Free Trade Agreement (FTA). The ninth round of negotiations for a free trade agreement between India and the UK was held from April 24 to 28.

The British High Commission in India in a statement said, “An ambitious, balanced FTA would boost our current trading relationship, worth £36 billion in 2022. ” Round nine of negotiations for a free trade agreement between the United Kingdom and the Republic of India

“A trade deal with India supports the government’s growth strategy to take advantage of the UK’s status as an independent trading nation, creating new trade and investment opportunities and championing free trade,” the British High Commission in India said in a statement.

In the statement, Lord Ahmad called India and UK “trusted partners.” He said that India and UK are deepening collaboration on science and technology.

“The UK and India are trusted partners united by the unique living bridge that closely connects our countries and people,” Lord Ahmad said in a statement.

“Building on the 2030 Roadmap for India-UK future relations, we are deepening our collaboration on science and technology, bringing new innovations to both our nations,” he added.

Lord Ahmad meets Shringla

Lord Ahmad, who is on a 5-day visit to India, met the former foreign secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla in Delhi on Monday.

Apart from the UK Minister, the former Foreign Secretary also had a brief interaction with British deputy high commissioner Christina Scott. “A great pleasure to meet Lord @tariqahmadbt, UK Minister in FCO and @CScottFCDO, UK Deputy High Commissioner @UKinIndia,” Shringla said, taking to Twitter.

During his visit, Lord Ahmad will travel to Hyderabad. He will highlight science and tech innovations with trips to T-Hub and T-Works, the technology start-up incubator and prototyping facility which are part of the world’s largest innovation campus, and space launch vehicle company Skyroot.

Lord Ahmad will visit the National Institute of Animal Biotechnology and hold discussions on the further potential for science and technology collaboration with Indian alumni of Chevening, the UK’s flagship international scholarship programme.

Christina Scott, Acting British High Commissioner to India in the statement said, “The UK and India enjoy an invaluable partnership. As we deliver the UK-India Roadmap 2030, we are deepening and accelerating our collaboration on health, climate, trade, education, science and technology, and defence. “

Scott further said, “With India’s Presidency of the G20, we have an opportunity also for the UK and India to work together to shape and deliver solutions to global problems.” Notably, India assumed the G20 Presidency on December 1. (ANI)

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