India is among the countries ready to forge an “ambitious” new trading relationship with the UK after Britain leaves the European Union (EU), Prime Minister Theresa May has told the Parliament. In a statement in the House of Commons on the recently concluded G20 summit in Hamburg, May said that her meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi involved discussions on a wide range of issues, including tackling modern day slavery. “At this summit, I held a number of meetings with other world leaders, all of whom made clear their strong desire to forge ambitious new bilateral trading relationships with the UK after Brexit. This included America, Japan, China and India,” May said in her statement on Monday.
In response to Opposition Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn on the issue of striking new trade deals, she added: “I am very happy to tell him (Corbyn) that we are already working with the Americans on what a trade deal might look like. We already have a working group with the Australians, and we have a working group with India as well. “We are working on trade in three areas. Obviously, one area is looking ahead to the trade agreements we can have with those countries we do not currently have them with as a member of the European Union.
“The second is ensuring that, where there are trade agreements with the EU, we are able to roll those forward as we leave the EU. “The third area is working with countries such as India and Australia to discuss what changes we can make now, before we leave the EU, to improve our trade relationship.”
Labour MP Graham Jones asked May if she had raised the issue of modern day slavery and child prostitution in India during her meeting with Modi, to which she said that it was an issue “previously” raised with the Indian PM as the UK wants “people around the world to address it”. “We are very clear that we want to see this issue being dealt with. That is one of the reasons why we have put into legislation the requirement for companies here in the UK, which will be manufacturing and will be sourcing products from around the world, to look at their supply chains and report on what they find in them and whether or not modern slavery is taking place within them,” she told Parliament.
Modi and May had held bilateral talks on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Germany last week, during which the Indian leader had raised the issue of Indian economic offenders like liquor baron Vijay Mallya and former Indian Premier League chief Lalit Modi and sought the UK’s cooperation in extraditing them to face the Indian courts.