The visit begins on Thursday in Ahmedabad, where Johnson will meet leaders of big business, in what will be the first visit by a British prime minister to Gujarat, India’s fifth largest country and the home of about half of India’s population. Indian population living in British territory.
Boris Johnson is expected to meet on Friday in New Delhi with his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi, with whom he will discuss issues of mutual interest such as “strategic defence, diplomatic and economic relations”, with the aim of “deepening cooperation and stepping up”. “Security cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region,” the British government said in a statement.
According to the memo, the Conservative Party leader will use the visit to advance negotiations on a bilateral free trade agreement, which began earlier this year, as a British priority after Brexit.
The British government estimates that a deal with India could increase total British trade by up to £28 million (about €34 million) per year by 2035.
“When we face threats to our peace and prosperity from authoritarian states, it is imperative that democracies and friends stay together,” Boris Johnson said of the trip.
He added: “India, as a major economic power and the world’s largest democracy, is a very important strategic partner for the UK in these turbulent times.”
Boris Johnson wanted his first international trip after coming to power in 2019 to be to India, but the visit has been postponed several times due to the pandemic.
ATR // MDR
Lusa / end
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