In the first meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, the two leaders talked about deepening collaboration in various sectors including defence and security, trade, and mobility.
The two leaders met on the sidelines of the two days G20 Leaders Summit in Bali and expressed satisfaction at the state of the wide-ranging India-UK Comprehensive Strategic Partnership and reviewed the progress made on the Roadmap 2030 for Future Relations.
According to an official statement of the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) the two leaders appreciated the importance of working together both in bilateral and multilateral forums including G20 and the Commonwealth.
UK & Indo-Pacific
Ahead of the meeting between the two leaders, according to an official statement from the office of the British PM, during the meeting PM Sunak would announce a new partnership with India and also emphasize on the importance of Indo-Pacific security and prosperity at the G20 in Indonesia. The Indo-Pacific as a whole has become more important to the UK’s prosperity and security.
The UK has committed to building its presence in the Indo-Pacific of any European country and to strengthening ties in the region. The statement also added that the UK is working together with Japan to develop the next generation of combat aircraft, the pact with Australia under AUKUS and also the Just Energy Transition Partnership with Indonesia.
Visas for young professionals
Ahead of the meeting between the two leaders the British PM Sunak cleared around 3,000 visas for young professionals from India. Under the UK-India Young Professionals Scheme these 18-30-year-old degree-educated Indian nationals can live and work for up to two years in the UK.
Highlighting the strength of the UK-India Migration and Mobility Partnership agreed last year, India is the first visa-national country to benefit from such a scheme.
According to the statement from Sunak’s office the two leaders when they meet will confirm a new bespoke, reciprocal route to open in early 2023. This will give the young professionals from both the countries a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to participate in the cultural and professional exchange.
This century the UK was the first country to achieve Associate Partner status in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and it has also applied to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership.
Under this scheme it will further strengthen the bilateral relations between the two countries and the economies of both India and the UK. The official statement stated that the UK has more links with India than any country in the Indo-Pacific and almost quarter of international students studying there are from India. And Indian investments in the UK support around 95,000 jobs there.
India-UK Trade Agreement
Currently the two countries are in the midst of negotiating a trade deal – which is expected to be the first of its kind in the European region once firmed up. It would build on the UK-India trading relationship which is almost worth £24 billion.
Besides the mobility partnership with India, the UK government under its new leader is also working towards dealing with the immigration offenders. Last May the two sides signed a MoU which was aimed at increasing mobility between the two countries. And sending back those with no right to be in the both countries respectively and also sharing best practice on organized immigration crime.