Boris Johnson to visit India in April-end, Indo-Pacific ties in focus
Marking his first major international trip after Brexit, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will visit India at the end of April as part of efforts to boost the UK’s opportunities in the region, Reuters reported citing his office on Tuesday.
The confirmation from the UK PM comes two months after he had to cancel his visit to India due to rising Covid-19 infections in his country. Johnson, who was invited by India as a Republic Day chief guest, had planned the trip in January as part of efforts to speed up trade talks between the two nations.
Downing Street had announced that Johnson will travel to India in January 2021 to strengthen a key strategic relationship that supports jobs and investment across the United Kingdom as part of his first major bilateral visit since taking office, and the first since the UK’s departure from the European Union.
On the upcoming visit, Johnson's office said, "...it would 'tilt' its focus towards the Indo-Pacific region as part of its Integrated Review of government policy for the coming years, saying the area increasingly represented the geopolitical centre of the world."
Britain made a formal request to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) last month, seeking membership of the 11-country bloc to open new avenues for post-Brexit trade and influence. The country has also applied to become a dialogue partner of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). "We are pursuing trade deals from Australia to the US and around the world – particularly in the Indo-Pacific region, a huge growth market for the future," foreign minister Dominic Raab wrote in December.
The UK and India are significant investors and markets for each other’s economies with growing trade and investment relationship worth around £24 billion a year, supporting more than half a million jobs.