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Trade, education, tech focus areas during Modi's UK visit

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

Technology, education and trade will be the key areas of cooperation that will be discussed between and the UK when meets his British counterpart next week.

is scheduled to visit the UK from April 17-20 for the Commonwealth Heads of the Governments Meeting. During the visit, he will hold a bilateral meeting with May on April 18 and also have an audience with

The meeting gains significance as it comes in the backdrop of Britain's decision to exit the The Brexit "divorce" process is currently underway, and although the UK can strike its own trade deals but they can't be enforced until January 1, 2021. May had visited in November 2016.

Dominic Asquith, the British to India, said the UK is keen on an agreement for mutual recognition of academic qualifications with

A similar agreement was signed between India and during French Emmanuel Macron's maiden visit here last month.

"Discussions are underway and we would very much like that to happen," Asquith told reporters.

The UK is an attractive foreign destination for Indian students. Nearly 14,000 Indian students pursue masters in that country every year.

Asquith also sought to assuage India's concerns over the UK's visa policy. In 2009, the UK tightened its immgiration rules and also made regulations post-study visa stringent.

"More than half of all our work visas go to Indians," the said.

Asked about India's concern about pro-Khalistan elements in the UK, he said if there is any evidence of incitement, his country takes it very seriously. "It applies to Khalistan, and it applies to others," Asquith said.

The issue is likely to come up during Modi-May talks.

Yesterday, during a on Modi's visit to the UK, K Nagaraj Naidu, (West Europe) said and May will launch the comprising young CEOs from the two countries.

Modi will also address a townhall in the UK.

A visit to the three-storey house in London, where Babasaheb Ambedkar, the of the Indian Constitution, lived as a student in the 1920s, is also likely. The property has been acquired by the

Responding to a question on Indian fugitives staying in the UK, including liquor baron Vijay Mallya, the British said the issue was judicial in nature and it was the responsibility of the judiciary.

India has sought Mallya's extradition, wanted in an alleged money laundering and fraud case, but he has challenged it in a court in the UK.

Talking about trade, Asquith said the trade between India and the UK has increased by 15 per cent in comparison to last year. India is also the fourth largest investor in the UK.

The UK was among India's major trading partners during 2016-17 and ranked 16th in the list of India's top 25 trading partners, according to official figures from the Indian side.

During his visit to last year, had said that the should apologise for the 1919 Jallianwala Bagh massacre.

Asked whether any such move is expected during Modi's visit, Asquith said then British has already expressed regret over the massacre.

"Former in 2013 had said the massacre was deep shame for the British history. The rightly condemns the events of the time," he said quoting Cameron.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, April 13 2018. 19:55 IST