UK PM Boris Johnson's India visit to finalise 'Roadmap 2030' for re-energised India-UK ties
London, Apr 15: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will visit India from April 25 and is set to agree on a 'Roadmap 2030' for re-energised India-UK relations in areas like trade, investment, defence and security cooperation, healthcare and climate action, the Indian High Commission said on Thursday.
Downing Street on Wednesday said that due to the COVID-19 pandemic crisis in India, Johnson has decided to shorten the length of his planned visit - with the bulk of the programme now set to take place during the course of Monday, April 26.
The visit, previously postponed from a Republic Day tour in January, is the first major bilateral visit for Johnson outside Europe since the UK general election in December 2019 and the conclusion of the Brexit transition period at the end of December 2020.
"The visit of Prime Minister Johnson is expected to positively transform the partnership across the wide-spectrum of issues and areas relating to defence and security, the Indo-Pacific and Western Indian Ocean Region (WIOR), trade and investments, healthcare, climate change and people-to-people connect," the High Commission of India said.
"The India-UK Partnership in Climate Action, clean energy and health care is geared for mutual benefit and a better world," it adds.
As part of the UK's post-Brexit Global Britain engagement as a non-member of the European Union (EU), all eyes have been on a proposed Enhanced Trade Partnership (ETP) with India which will pave the way for a full-fledged Free Trade Agreement (FTA) in the future.
The ETP was expected to take firm shape during Johnson's visit this month but it remains to be seen how that progresses given the scaled-back programme.
Johnson's visit, which has been repeatedly hit by COVID-19 pandemic constraints, is by contrast expected to deliver a "streamlined and liberalised regime" for the flow of people between the two countries.
Downing Street is yet to reveal a detailed itinerary of Johnson's truncated agenda but confirmed on Wednesday that it will include a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Modi and high-level ministerial as well as business talks.
"This programme will be focused on high level discussions with the Indian government and Indian business leaders. We'll set out more details in due course, but the visit will include a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Modi," Johnson's spokesperson at 10 Downing Street said.