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‘Enormous opportunity’, UK PM Rishi Sunak optimistic about signing FTA with India this year

In a strong indication to clinch a deal this year, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said that India and the United Kingdom have made enormous progress toward signing a free-trade agreement. The remarks came at the G20 Summit in Delhi on Friday. 

Speaking to ANI, Rishi Sunak said, “Both Modi Ji and I are keen to see a comprehensive and ambitious trade deal concluded between our two countries. Both of us think that there is a good deal to be done.”

The British premier stressed there was “still hard work to do” and said an agreement had to “work for both countries”, as per Bloomberg reports, citing ANI. 

“I think there is an enormous opportunity for both India and the UK to strengthen our economic cooperation which will bring real benefits to our citizens in both countries,” the UK PM added. 

The two leaders (PM Modi and Rishi Sunak) noted with satisfaction the progress in diverse areas of bilateral cooperation as per the India-UK Comprehensive Strategic Partnership as well as the Roadmap 2030, particularly in economy, defense and security, technology, green technology and climate change, health, and mobility sectors. 

Both leaders also exchanged views on international and regional issues of importance and mutual interest, the Ministry of External Affairs said. 

They also reviewed the progress of Free Trade Agreement negotiations and expressed hope that the remaining issues could be addressed at the earliest so that a balanced, mutually beneficial, and forward-looking Free Trade Agreement is concluded soon, the statement read. 

In August, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman indicated that India was close to a “final call” on signing the FTA with the UK. Talks have been ongoing since 2021 with 13 rounds of talks thus far. Bilateral trade between the two countries hit USD 20.36 billion in 2022-23.

“Prime Minister Modi invited PM Sunak for a bilateral visit at an early, mutually convenient date for a more detailed discussion. Prime Minister Sunak accepted the invitation and congratulated PM Modi for a successful G20 Summit,” the release added. 


(With inputs from agencies)

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Updated: 11 Sep 2023, 09:09 AM IST

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