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PM Modi, Rishi Sunak agree to bring comprehensive and balanced India-UK trade deal

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New Delhi, Oct 27: The Prime Minister Narendra Modi has spoken to Rishi Sunak and Congratulated him on assuming charge as UK Prime Minister.

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PM Modi speaks to Rishi Sunak, says agreed on importance of early conclusion of FTA

In a tweet, the Prime Minister said,''Glad to speak to @RishiSunak today. Congratulated him on assuming charge as UK PM. We will work together to further strengthen our Comprehensive Strategic Partnership. We also agreed on the importance of early conclusion of a comprehensive and balanced FTA.''

Thanking Prime Minister Modi, Sunak said, "The UK and India share so much. I'm excited about what our two great democracies can achieve as we deepen our security, defence and economic partnership in the months and years ahead."

Sunak, 42, was elected Conservative Party leader on Monday, marking a very special Diwali for the former Chancellor of Exchequer who entered 10 Downing Street as the first Indian-origin and also the youngest British Prime Minister in 210 years.

The telephonic conversation between them comes just a day ahead of British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly's visit to India on Friday.

On Monday, Prime Minister Modi had congratulated Sunak and said he looked forward to working closely together on global issues and implementing the Roadmap 2030 for bilateral relations.

Modi tweeted, "Warmest congratulations @RishiSunak! As you become UK PM, I look forward to working closely together on global issues, and implementing Roadmap 2030. Special Diwali wishes to the 'living bridge' of UK Indians, as we transform our historic ties into a modern partnership."

Sunak's vision for India-UK bilateral ties has gone beyond the opportunity for the UK to sell things in India, wanting Britain to also "learn from India". India and Britain launched negotiations for the Free Trade Agreement in January with an aim to conclude talks by Diwali but the deadline was missed due to a lack of consensus on issues.

The India-UK free trade deal is likely to get the much-needed impetus with Sunak moving into 10 Downing Street as experts see political stability in the UK giving momentum to negotiations.

Sunak, in his previous role as Chancellor of the Exchequer, had expressed support for the FTA as he saw enormous opportunities for both countries in the fintech and insurance sectors.

Devout Hindu Rishi Sunak shares Diwali wishes from NO 10: Says our children will light DiyasDevout Hindu Rishi Sunak shares Diwali wishes from NO 10: Says our children will light Diyas

According to the experts, political stability in the UK now would help fast-track the negotiations for the pact, which could potentially double bilateral trade by 2030. The total trade between India and the UK stood at USD 17.5 billion in 2021-22.

India has in recent times signed trade deals with the United Arab Emirates and Australia but talks with the UK had hit a snag over easier access to Indian skilled workers.

Sunak's historic milestone as the country's first non-white Prime Minister is being widely celebrated as a sign of the diversity of modern-day Britain. He took over from Liz Truss just 49 days after she defeated him in the last leadership race.

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