India-UK partnership will be defining one for our times: PM Rishi Sunak

LONDON: British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on Wednesday said he is confident that the India-UK partnership will be a “defining one for our times”, as he extended support to the upcoming UK-India Week.
Sunak, then UK Chancellor of the Exchequer, was a special guest at the UK-India Awards during last year’s summit when he first spoke about his own Indian heritage and commitment to British Indian values.
In a statement from Downing Street, the 43-year-old leader described the annual event as a catalyst for forging new trade ties and long-term collaborations.
“India Global Forum’s annual UK-India Week is a highly anticipated fixture in the bilateral calendar of our two great nations,” said Sunak.
“It is a catalyst for forging new trade ties, lasting collaborations, and a better future for our peoples. I’m confident this partnership will be a defining one for our times,” he said.
UK-India Week 2023 kick-starts with a Young Leaders Forum at the Nehru Centre in London on Saturday and will cover a full spectrum of bilateral issues, from tech and innovation to infrastructure and sustainability at events in London and Windsor.
This year marks the fifth edition of the summit and UK-India Awards, which comes just days after the UK government issued a joint outcome statement at the conclusion of the tenth round of free trade agreement (FTA) negotiations with India.
“Technical discussions were held across 10 policy areas over 50 separate sessions. They included detailed draft treaty text discussions in these policy areas,” reads a statement from the Department for Business and Trade (DBT) issued earlier this week.
India and the UK have been negotiating an FTA since January last year, with a goal towards a comprehensive pact that is expected to significantly enhance the bilateral trading relationship, worth an estimated GBP 34 billion in 2022. The 11th round is now scheduled to take place next month, soon after UK-India Week next week.
“Given the geopolitical upheaval and economic turbulence around the world, I believe it is more important now than ever before that the UK and India forge closer and deeper ties. I am, therefore, grateful to Prime Minister Sunak for recognising the role that IGF is playing in bringing our two great democracies closer to unlocking the true potential of the partnership,” said IGF Founder Professor Manoj Ladwa.
The six-day series of events will open with an address by Opposition Labour Party Leader Keir Starmer and will also involve interventions by UK Education Secretary Gillian Keegan and India’s Minister of Power, New & Renewable Energy R.K. Singh.

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