Modi, May discusses ways of enhancing trade and cooperation at 10-Downing Street, agreed on new trade policy, 26 MoUs signed, Delhi to invest £1bn in UK
Nation special report
LONDON: British Prime Minister Theresa May and India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi Wednesday discussed boosting trade ties after Brexit as he visited London. The UK Government said £1 billion in commercial investments had been agreed, which will create or safeguard 5,750 British jobs as ministers announced closer co-operation on trade, technology and defence.
At talks in Downing Street with the Indian prime minister, Mrs May said there had been a “significant increase” in bilateral trade between the two countries over the past year. Mrs May, who is hoping to secure a free trade agreement with India after Britain leaves the EU, said: “Our trade partnership is showing how we can remove barriers to increase trade between our two countries.” Mr Modi, who is in London for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, welcomed the UK’s decision to join the International Solar Alliance, which he launched in 2016 to promote the growth of solar energy.
“This is a fight not only against global warming, but this is our responsibility towards humanity, towards the next generation.
“I think this is a very important step,” he said. Downing Street said the Prime Minister updated Mr Modi on the Brexit process and “reiterated that the UK will remain committed to global free trade and investment”. A Number 10 spokesman said: “Prime Minister Modi said there would be no dilution in the importance of the UK to India post-Brexit. He said the city of London was of great importance to India for accessing the global markets and would remain so. “The two leaders said trade between the UK and India had grown strongly over the last year and Prime Minister Modisaid that Brexit offers opportunities to further increase trade ties.”
The two leaders later visited the Francis Crick Institute, where they met scientists working on cutting-edge research into lung and kidney cancer.
A Downing Street spokesperson said: This morning the Prime Minister welcomed Prime Minister Modi of India to Downing Street for bilateral talks. The Prime Minister and Prime Minister Modi discussed the chemical weapons attacks in Salisbury and Syria, expressing concern and making clear their opposition to the use of chemical weapons by any party in any circumstances.
The Prime Minister reiterated the UK’s position on Russia’s recent destabilising behaviour, underlined by the attack in Salisbury and the protection provided for the Syrian regime’s repeated use of chemical weapons against its people.
The leaders discussed their shared priorities in the Indo Pacific and committed to working more closely together to ensure it remained free and open. They reflected on the progress made on bilateral defence and security cooperation since the Prime Minister’s visit to India in 2016 and the agreement to a number of Defence Capability Partnerships in key strategic areas, with closer military-to-military ties underpinned by a succession of high level visits and exchanges.
They agreed to continue working together closely to combat terrorism, radicalisation and online extremism. They also discussed co-operation between the two countries on legal matters. Mrs May welcomed the return to the UK of the Chennai Six. The Prime Minister updated Prime Minister Modi on the progress of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, saying the implementation period agreed in March gives Indian companies and investors the confidence that market access will continue on current terms until the end of 2020. She reiterated that the UK will remain committed to global free trade and investment and that the UK will remain a leading hub for global finance.
Prime Minister Modi said there would be no dilution in the importance of the UK to India post-Brexit. He said the City of London was of great importance to India for accessing the global markets and would remain so. The two leaders said trade between the UK and India had grown strongly over the last year and Prime Minister Modisaid that Brexit offers opportunities to further increase trade ties. The Prime Ministers welcomed the £1 billion of commercial deals which has been agreed.