Rishi Sunak tells PM Modi he is excited about the India-UK partnership in their first meeting
In his first remarks as prime minister of the United Kingdom, Rishi Sunak expressed his gratitude to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his congratulations.
I am grateful for your kind words as I begin my new role, Prime Minister @NarendraModi. “Our two great democracies share a lot of similarities. I look forward to enhancing our security, defense, and economic partnerships in the months and years ahead,” Sunak said.
Thank you Prime Minister @NarendraModi for your kind words as I get started in my new role.
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 & years ahead. pic.twitter.com/Ly60ezbDPg
— Rishi Sunak (@RishiSunak) October 27, 2022
He said that both he and Rishi Sunak will work together to further strengthen the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership. Modi took to Twitter on Thursday to congratulate Sunak on becoming Britain’s new prime minister.
I enjoyed speaking to @RishiSunak today. I congratulated him on becoming UK PM. Hopefully we will have a comprehensive and balanced trade agreement completed by the end of the year. PM Modi tweeted, “I am glad to speak with @RishiSunak today. I congratulated him on assuming charge of the UK Prime Minister. I was also glad to meet you today.”
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.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) October 27, 2022
Rishi Sunak was appointed and elected to be Prime Minister of the United Kingdom on Tuesday, making him the fifth Conservative leader elected in the past six years. He is also the first person of Indian descent to hold that position.
After Rishi Sunak becomes Prime Minister, the India-UK FTA negotiations are expected to resume. As a result of Suella Braverman’s concerns about the “open borders migration policy” with India, the negotiations have already missed the Diwali deadline.
The deal may again be challenged by Braverman after he was reappointed as Home Secretary by Rishi Sunak. She is not taken well by the Indian power corridors for her claim that open borders are in line with “what people voted for in Brexit.” She also describes India as the nation with the highest number of people overstaying visas.
Rishi Sunak, however, spoke in July about changing Visa policies for Indian nationals. In the future, we intend to expand what we consider to be high-potential characteristics. Indian nationals will be benefitted as the qualification criteria for that visa (which applies to university students) expand over time. Those who study at any of these global universities will benefit greatly from this visa, he said.
By 2030, India and the UK will double their bilateral trade to about $100 billion, according to the FTA, which was launched in January this year. Currently, almost 70% of the total trade between these countries is dominated by services. The FTA is expected to cover 90% of trade tariffs between the two countries.
In January, India and Britain began negotiations for a Free Trade Agreement with the goal of concluding the talks by Diwali, but the milestone was missed because there was not enough agreement on issues.
Despite Sunak moving into 10 Downing Street, experts believe the free trade deal between India and the UK will gain momentum with Sunak moving to 10 Downing Street.
He had expressed support for the FTA when he was Chancellor of the Exchequer, as he saw tremendous opportunities in fintech and insurance for both countries. Experts say that political stability in the UK now could speed up negotiations for the pact, which is expected to boost bilateral trade by 2030 by more than double.
USD 17.5 billion was the total trade between India and the UK in 2021-22.
There have recently been trade agreements signed between India and the UAE and Australia; however, talks about easier access to Indian skilled workers had stalled with the UK.
Sunak took charge just 49 days after Liz Truss defeated him in the last leadership election, marking a point in history when the country’s first non-white Prime Minister took over.