PM Modi, Sunak agree to expedite FTA, hold another bilateral

NEW DELHI: Amid the delay in concluding the negotiations for a Free Trade Agreement (


), PM Narendra


and his counterpart Rishi


Saturday had a “productive conversation’’ in a bilateral meeting about the ongoing talks with the latter reiterating the UK’s ambition to deliver a “landmark trade deal’’ which benefits businesses and workers in both countries and grows bilateral trade in both goods and services.

Sunak is on his first visit to India as PM after taking office in October 2022. The Indian government said in a statement that both leaders reviewed the progress of FTA negotiations and expressed hope that the remaining issues could be addressed at the earliest so that a balanced, mutually beneficial and forward-looking Free Trade Agreement is concluded soon.
In what was their first bilateral meeting in India, Modi met Sunak on the margins of the


They agreed that ministers and negotiating teams would continue to work at pace to- wards an FTA, according to UK authorities. UK high commissioner Alex Ellis had told TOI in an interview last week that the UK had prioritised text over time as it wanted to get the “right’’ deal with India.

“The two leaders noted with satisfaction the progress in diverse areas of bilateral cooperation as per the India-UK Comprehensive Strategic Partnership as well as the Roadmap 2030, particularly in economy, defence and security, technology, green technology and climate change, health and mobility sectors. Both leaders also exchanged views on international and regional is- sues of importance and mutual interest,’’ said the Indian government.

“The leaders reflected on the close and growing ties between the UK and India, exemplified in the ‘living bridge’ between our people. They agreed it was important to build on the past and focus on the future, cementing a modern partnership in cutting-edge defence technology, trade and innovation. They also discussed a number of consular issues,’’ said the UK readout.
Modi invited Sunak for a bilateral visit at an early date for a more detailed discussion. Sunak accepted the invitation.

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