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PM Modi, Sunak hold ‘good conversation’ over phone, hope early decision on India-UK free trade agreement


British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi
Image Source : REUTERS British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his UK counterpart Rishi Sunak held a “good conversation” on Tuesday, where both leaders affirmed the early conclusion of a mutually beneficial Free Trade Agreement.

According to the statement released by the Prime Minister’s Office, the leaders reaffirmed their commitment to continue to strengthen the bilateral Comprehensive Strategic partnership. “They expressed satisfaction with the progress made under the Roadmap 2030 in diverse areas including trade, investment, defence, security, emerging technologies and others,” it said.

During the conversation, both Prime Ministers assessed positively the progress made towards the early conclusion of a mutually beneficial Free Trade Agreement. The two leaders also exchanged views on regional and global developments of mutual interest. 

India-UK Free Trade Agreement

It is worth mentioning The FTA talks began in January 2022 year with Diwali 2022 set as the initial deadline by then Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Under the Prime Minister Rishi Sunak-led Tory government, no new timelines have been set but both sides are keen to get things signed off before a general election year in India and the UK in 2024.

Until December last year, the two sides learnt to finalise over 20 out of 26 chapters in the FTA and were looking at sealing it by bridging differences on certain contentious issues including mobility of people and import duty concessions on certain items.  

According to reports, the deal has been in a lingering state as the UK wants New Delhi to slash tariffs on British cars, and scotch whisky while India seeks some relaxation in visas for Indian professionals.  

Meanwhile, before ending the conversation, Prime Minister Modi and the UK PM exchanged greetings for Holi. “Both leaders agreed to remain in touch and exchanged greetings on the upcoming festive occasion of Holi,” added the statement.

Also Read: ‘Nobody asks why isn’t UK quickly signing up?’, Jaishankar over delay in signing India-UK FTA


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