UK PM Rishi Sunak on phone with PM Modi (Photo: Twitter)
Britain's newly-elected Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on Thursday thanked his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi for congratulating him on his new role, saying he was "excited" about what the two great democracies can achieve as they deepen their security, defence and economic partnership.
His comment came soon after Prime Minister Modi spoke to new him over phone and congratulated him on assuming charge as British Prime Minister.
"We will work together to further strengthen our Comprehensive Strategic Partnership. We also agreed on the importance of early conclusion of a comprehensive and balanced FTA," Modi tweeted.
Sunak replied, "Thank you Prime Minister @NarendraModi for your kind words as I get started in my new role. The UK and India share so much. I'm excited about what our two great democracies can achieve as we deepen our security, defence and economic partnership in the months & years ahead."
Sunak, 42, was elected Conservative Party leader on Monday, marking a very special Diwali for the former Chancellor of Exchequer who entered 10 Downing Street as the youngest British Prime Minister in 210 years.
His vision for India-UK bilateral ties has gone beyond the opportunity for the UK to sell things in India, wanting Britain to also "learn from India".
India and Britain launched negotiations for the Free Trade Agreement in January with an aim to conclude talks by Diwali but the deadline was missed due to a lack of consensus on issues.
The India-UK free trade deal is likely to get the much-needed impetus with Sunak moving into 10 Downing Street as experts see political stability in the UK giving momentum to negotiations.
Sunak, in his previous role as Chancellor of the Exchequer, had expressed support for the FTA as he saw enormous opportunities for both countries in the fintech and insurance sectors.
According to the experts, political stability in the UK now would help fast-track the negotiations for the pact, which could potentially double bilateral trade by 2030.
The total trade between India and the UK stood at USD 17.5 billion in 2021-22.
India has in recent times signed trade deals with the United Arab Emirates and Australia but talks with the UK had hit a snag over easier access to Indian skilled workers.
Sunak's historic milestone as the country's first non-white Prime Minister is being widely celebrated as a sign of the diversity of modern-day Britain. He took over from Liz Truss just 49 days after she defeated him in the last leadership race.
(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)
First Published: Oct 27 2022 | 9:39 PM IST