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UK Prime Minister Visit to India

  • 26 Apr 2022
  • 5 min read

For Prelims: Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative, India–UK FTA

For Mains: India’s relations with the UK, Indo-UK Comprehensive Strategic Partnership in 2021, 2030 Roadmap for India-UK Relations

Why in News?

Recently, the UK Prime Minister (PM) visited India. In this visit, both the countries agreed on a joint statement titled 'Towards shared security and prosperity through national resilience'.

What are the Highlights of the Visit?

  • Respecting India-Russia Relations: In the context of Ukraine Crisis and India’s neutral stance, UK PM asserted that India’s position on Russia is ‘well known’ and is not going to change.
    • India has historic relationship with Russian and everybody respects it.
  • Cooperation on Indo-Pacific: The two countries had a shared interest in keeping the Indo-Pacific region free and open, particularly in the face of growing threats of Chinese coercion in South China Sea.
    • Recently, the UK and India have agreed to strengthen their cooperation in the maritime domain as the UK will join India’s Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative and become a major partner on maritime security issues in Southeast Asia.
    • India’s Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative (IPOI) is an open, non-treaty-based initiative for countries to work together for cooperative and collaborative solutions to common challenges in the region.
  • Tackling Extremism: They agreed to constitute a sub-group on countering extremism to further enhance cooperation between India and the UK in ensuring that all possible actions are taken against groups and individuals based in or operating out of either country.
  • Extraditing Economic Fugitives: India conveyed to the UK, that bringing back economic fugitives to face justice was a "high priority" for the government.
    • Britain responded that it is concerned about this and doesn't welcome people who want to use its legal system to evade the Indian laws.
  • Discussion on FTA: Both leaders committed that Free Trade Agreements negotiations will conclude by the end of 2022.
  • Defence Cooperation: They discussed the next generation of defence and security collaborations across five domains — land, sea, air, space and cyber.

What are the Recent Developments on India’s Relations with the UK?

  • Despite the challenge posed by the Ukraine crisis, the India-UK relationship has been on an upward trajectory, exemplified by the conclusion of a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership in 2021.
  • Additionally, In January 2022, India and the UK managed to conclude the first round of talks for an India–UK Free Trade Agreement.
    • The negotiations reflected shared ambitions to secure a comprehensive deal between the fifth (UK) and sixth (India) largest economies in the world as technical experts from both sides covered over 32 sessions encompassing 26 policy areas.

Way Forward

  • A post-Brexit Britain needs to make the best of its historic ties; having walked out of Europe, the country needs all the partners it can find and a rising India is naturally among the top political and economic priorities.
  • Britain remains the fifth-largest economy, a permanent member of the UN Security Council, a global financial hub, a center of technological innovation, and a leading cyber power.
    • It has a significant international military presence and wide-ranging political influence.
    • India should try harder to leverage these British strengths for India’s strategic benefit.

Source: IE

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