PM Modi, Rishi Sunak assess India-UK free trade pact talks on G7 Summit sidelines | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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PM Modi, Rishi Sunak assess India-UK free trade pact talks on G7 Summit sidelines

Jun 14, 2024 05:38 PM IST

PM Modi and PM Rishi Sunak expressed satisfaction with the progress made in the Free Trade Agreement negotiations between the two countries

NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his British counterpart Rishi Sunak on Friday assessed the implementation of Roadmap 2030, which envisages boosting cooperation in areas such as trade and defence, and negotiations for a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA).

Prime Minister Narendra Modi meets United Kingdom PM Rishi Sunak on the sidelines of the G7 Summit in Apulia on Friday. (ANI)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi meets United Kingdom PM Rishi Sunak on the sidelines of the G7 Summit in Apulia on Friday. (ANI)

The two leaders met on the sidelines of the G7 Summit at Apulia in Italy, where PM Modi is participating in an outreach session focused on issues such as AI and energy. This was their first meeting since Sunak travelled to India last September for the G20 Summit.

Modi and Sunak discussed the implementation of Roadmap 2030 and expressed happiness at progress in all areas of the bilateral comprehensive strategic partnership, the external affairs ministry said in a readout.

This includes regular high-level political consultations, defence and security, trade and economic collaboration, critical and high technology sectors, and people-to-people ties.

The Roadmap 2030, finalised in May 2021, has five pillars, including political contacts and migration and mobility, trade, defence and security, climate change and health.

Modi and Sunak “expressed satisfaction with the progress made in the Free Trade Agreement negotiations between the two countries”, the readout said, without giving details. They also discussed regional and multilateral matters.

The two sides have held 14 rounds of talks on the proposed FTA but have been unable to address differences on issues such as market access, tariffs on British scotch whisky and automobiles and greater mobility for Indian professionals and students.

With Sunak’s Conservative Party widely expected to fare poorly in the upcoming UK election in July, the Indian side is holding off on signing the FTA till a new government is in place in London.

After the meeting, Modi said in a post on X: “I reiterated my commitment to further strengthen the India-UK Comprehensive Strategic Partnership in the third term of the NDA Government. There is great scope to deepen ties in sectors like semiconductors, technology and trade. We also talked about further cementing ties in the defence sector.”

Sunak congratulated Modi on his third term and the two leaders reaffirmed the shared commitment of India and the UK to further strengthen bilateral ties. Modi extended his wishes to the people of the UK as they prepare for a general election next month.

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