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India-UK talk free trade, defence and security ahead of Boris Johnson’s visit

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New Delhi, Dec 15: The meeting between visiting UK Secretary of State, Dominic Raab and India's foreign minister, S Jaishankar was dominated by defence and security cooperation and a free trade agreement.

Both countries agreed on a 10 year, 360-degree roadmap for upgrading India-UK Partnership to the next level.

India-UK talk free trade, defence and security ahead of Boris Johnson’s visit

The focus was extensively on bilateral trade and security. Raab and Foreign Minister S Jaishankar reviewed the progress made in the effort to draw up a 10-year roadmap for a quantum jump in the relationship between India and the UK.

Jaishankar, Raab to draw up 10 year roadmap for quantum jump in Indo-UK relations

Officials familiar with the developments told OneIndia that the visit by Raab was also a precursor of the British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson's visit to New Delhi. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had on November 27 invited Johnson to visit India and be the chief guest at the Republic Day Parade.

Johnson on his part invited PM Modi to the G-7 summit in the United Kingdom. The move by the PM to invite his UK counterpart is strategically important for ties between the two nations. With Brexit and UK's uneasy relationship with the US under the incoming Joe Biden administration, the move by PM Modi is important for ties between India and the United Kingdom.

Officials say that the engagement was important as London is part of P-5. Further the UK also has a powerful political lobby from Mirpur in Pakistan occupied Kashmir which often takes up issues like Jammu and Kashmir, the official further added.

The presence of UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson as the chief guest at the Republic Day 2021 would be in a way symbolic of a new era and a new phase of our relationship, Foreign Minister S Jaishankar said.

Jaishankar made the comments after holding talks with British Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab. He said that the visit comes at a very important time because we are looking at a post-COVID-19 world. We are also looking at a post Brexit world form the perspective of the United Kingdom. This is the right time for us to hold discussions, he also said.

Earlier Raab said that Johnson has accepted the invitation to be the chief guest at the Republic Day celebrations.

The focus on the talks with the British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab was on taking Indo-UK ties to a higher level, Jaishankar said.

We reviewed the situation in Afghanistan, developments in the Gulf and Indo-Pacific region, Jaishankar also said. He also said that there were discussions on the challenges posed by radicalisation and terrorism. It is important that India and UK strengthen collaboration to hasten the post-COVID-19 economic recovery, Jaishankar further added.

I am pleased that PM Boris Johnson has invited PM Modi to join the UK-hosted G7 summit next year. UK PM Johnson has also accepted the very generous invitation to attend India's Republic Day celebrations in January, which is a great honour, Raab said.

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    We look forward to taking the spot in 2021 including the UK's presidency of G7 and also our presidency of UN Climate Change Conference. We welcome India's return to UN Security Council, he further added.

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