Prime Minister Theresa May, who often mentions India as a key market for a post-Brexit Britain, is likely to visit New Delhi during the first India-UK Tech Summit scheduled for November 7-9.
There is no confirmation yet from the Indian side, but efforts were on to ensure that May’s first visit to India as the prime minister takes place to signal Britain's eagerness to forge a free trade agreement after the country exits the European Union. Initial talks have already been held on this issue.
May previously visited Hyderabad as Home secretary in November 2012 to address top officers in the National Police Academy, and mentioned how the lessons of the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks were incorporated in Britain’s security forces.
The British side is keen to focus on a free trade agreement, but the issue of new plans for immigration curbs announced at the Conservative party conference earlier this week is expected to figure during the visit, since it would affect Indian professionals and students.
The plans have dismayed Indian circles, particularly after leading lights of the Brexit campaign had promised an easier immigration policy post Brexit for professionals from India and other Commonwealth countries, including allowing recruitment of chefs from the Indian subcontinent to ease severe shortages in Britain’s multi-billion pound Indian food industry.
“Given the current climate in India, May will also be expected to say something on Pakistan’s export of terrorism when she is there”, a senior functionary told Hindustan Times.
Britain condemned the September 18 Uri attack in a statement, but Indian circles bristled at the statement calling Jammu and Kashmir as “Indian-administered Kashmir”, which some saw as reiterating Pakistan’s conception of the Indian state.