April 22, 2022
NEW DELHI – There is an opportunity for us to deepen our security and defence partnership. As the UK is making an Indo-Pacific tilt, Boris Johnson, the prime minister of the UK said on his arrival in India today.
The British Prime Minister arrived in Ahmedabad today on a two-day official visit to India. The visit was slated for January 2021 but did not take place due to the Corona Pandemic.
The UK Prime Minister would be pushing for job-creating investment. He would also try to convince PM Narendra Modi to side with the West against Russia. India abstained last month in the United Nations condemning the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Though India is a member of Quad, it continues to trade with Russia.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson began his two-day visit to India from Gujarat. The focus of his visit is the strengthening of the bilateral ties in defence, security and trade. Johnson landed in Ahmedabad and received a grand welcome. During his visit to Sabarmati Ashram, Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupesh Patel accompanied him.
Johnson met Adani Group Chairman, Gautam Adani, in Ahmedabad. On Twitter, Adani wrote: “Honoured to host Boris Johnson, the first UK PM to visit Gujarat, at Adani HQ. Delighted to support the climate & sustainability agenda with a focus on renewables, green H2 & new energy. Will also work with UK companies to co-create defence & aerospace technologies.” Johnson also visited a JCB factory with Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel.
Johnson said he hoped the UK would finalize another free trade agreement with India by the end of the year. The UK and Indian businesses are set to announce investments and export deals worth over £1 billion, in areas from software engineering to health.
Johnson will visit New Delhi for talks on Friday with Modi, where the two leaders will discuss a new defence partnership and a free trade agreement. This has been on the anvil and the two countries have been discussing it for the past few months. He would also be discussing the security scenario in the Indo-Pacific which is the UK’s major concern in the region.
Boris Johnson has shown willingness to enter joint production of military hardware in line with Modi’s vision of making India a hub for defence manufacturing. He is also likely to announce investments and new collaborations in science, health and technology.
Johnson is likely to lay emphasis on a free trade deal, which Britain is hoping to strike as part of its post-Brexit strategy. Such a trade deal could boost Britain’s total trade by up to £28 billion ($36.5 billion) annually by 2035.