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From trade to defence, UK-India need each other more than ever: Boris Johnson

From trade to defence, UK-India need each other more than ever: Boris Johnson
From trade to defence, UK-India need each other more than ever: Boris Johnson

New Delhi: Ties between the United Kingdom and India will remain on a phenomenal upward trajectory under Indian-origin UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, that country’s former premier Boris Johnson said.
The two countries need each other now more than ever as “We live in dangerous and turbulent times”, he said on Saturday. Johnson also called on the two countries to finalise a free trade agreement, saying he could not wait till next Diwali for it. “No mission that I have led has been as successful as the one in April this year when I arrived in Gujarat and was greeted like Sachin Tendulkar. There were pictures of me everywhere and literally thousands of people dancing on the streets,” Johnson said in his address at the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit here.
Noting that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and he had discussed the future of India-UK partnership during his India visit, Johnson said they had ‘fantastic talks’ and there have been results.
“India has become the number one supplier of overseas students to the UK. There are 1,08,000 Indian students in the UK to support our education industry,” he said.
The former British PM pointed out that even without a free trade agreement, the two countries have seen bilateral trade go up by 28%.
“Let us finally deliver that free trade agreement which mysteriously seems to have developed a flat tyre since I left office. Prime Minister Modi and I said it will be done by Diwali. I’m not going to wait till the next Diwali before we do that free trade deal. I wonder what the holdup is,” Johnson said.
“The government that I was proud to lead boasted more ministers who could trace their origins to India than any other government in the world. The crowning achievement of my approach is that my replacement himself is of Indian-origin,” he said.
“I know that under Rishi, this relationship, so strong and so dynamic, is going to follow the same phenomenal upward trajectory. We need each other now more than ever because, as PM Modi and his External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar had said, we live in dangerous and turbulent times,” Johnson said. “Even if the UK and India were not drawn together by ties of love, sentiments, family, by trade, commerce…if we were not tied together by economic self interest, we would be drawn together for this fervor and vital reason that we two democracies are forced to cope together with the irresponsible and sometimes dangerous behaviour of the world’s coercive autocracies,” he added.
The former British PM also hailed the India-UK collaboration in providing vaccines against Covid to the world.


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From trade to defence, UK-India need each other more than ever: Boris Johnson