New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his British counterpart Boris Johnson on Friday pushed for closing the negotiations for a free trade agreement by the end of the year, and agreed on a new and expanded bilateral defence and security partnership.
In their wide-ranging talks, Modi and Johnson vowed to give fresh momentum to overall ties and reviewed the progress made in the implementation of the Roadmap 2030 that listed ambitious targets for deeper collaborations in diverse sectors.
In his media statement, Modi said good progress has been made in negotiations for the India-UK free trade agreement.
“We have decided to do our best to conclude the free trade agreement by the end of this year,” Modi said in presence of Johnson.
He said both sides emphasised on a free, open, inclusive and rules-based order in the Indo-Pacific while reiterating the need for respecting the territorial integrity and sovereignty of all countries.
We reiterated our support for peaceful, stable and secure Afghanistan, he said, adding it is necessary that Afghan territory is not used to spread terrorism in other countries.
On the Ukraine crisis, Modi emphasised dialogue and diplomacy to address the problem and called for an immediate ceasefire.
In his remarks, Johnson described the ties between India and Britain as “one of defining friendships of our times”.
Today, we have agreed on a new and expanded defence and security partnership, he said.
Johnson said the UK is creating India specific open general export licensing to reduce delivery times for defence procurement.
We are telling our negotiators to get it done by Diwali in October, he said on the FTA.
The India-UK relationship was elevated to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership during the India-UK virtual summit held between Modi and Johnson in May last year.
At the summit, the two sides adopted a 10-year-roadmap to expand ties in key areas of trade and economy, defence and security, climate change and people-to-people connections among others.
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