Jaishankar, Sunak discuss FTA 

The duo also discussed shared global challenges, including the situation in Israel and Gaza and the war between Russia and Ukraine…reports Asian Lite News

Ministry of External Affairs Official Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi has said the India-UK Free Trade Agreement (FTA) was discussed during External Affairs Minister (EAM) S Jaishankar’s meeting with UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on his recent visit to the country.

“The EAM discussed the FTA with the UK PM and the newly sworn-in foreign secretary. There are discussions going on. But if you want to know the exact status of negotiations, I would refer you to the trade negotiators,” Bagchi said while speaking on the India-UK FTA during the MEA Weekly Media Briefing on Thursday.

The MEA spokesperson further said: “Both India and UK are engaged on this important issue to see if we can find, a solution or reach a final stage…”

EAM Jaishankar on his recent five-day visit to the UK, met with his British counterpart David Cameron and discussed progressing a Free Trade Agreement and partnerships on defence, science and technology.

During the meeting on Monday, the two leaders reflected on the strength of the UK-India relationship, including meeting the ambition of the UK-India 2030 Roadmap, according to the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office.

“The Foreign Secretary and Jaishankar also discussed progressing a free trade agreement and partnerships on defence, science and technology,” it said.

The duo also discussed shared global challenges, including the situation in Israel and Gaza and the war between Russia and Ukraine.

Notably, India and the UK are negotiating a Free Trade Agreement (FTA). Talks for FTA between India and the UK started in 2022 and the 12th round of negotiations took place from August 8-31 this year.

The India-UK Comprehensive Strategic Partnership was launched in 2021 along with the India-UK Roadmap 2030, according to the MEA. The Roadmap is a commitment to a partnership that delivers for both countries.

Jaishankar on his UK visit also met with the UK PM and presented him with a Lord Ganesha statue and a cricket bat signed by Indian batting great Virat Kohli.

Taking to his official handle on X, EAM Jaishankar shared details about his meeting with the UK PM, posting, “Delighted to call on Prime Minister @RishiSunak on #Diwali Day. Conveyed the best wishes of PM @narendramodi. India and UK are actively engaged in reframing the relationship for contemporary times. Thank Mr. and Mrs. Sunak for their warm reception and gracious hospitality.”

Earlier, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his UK counterpart Rishi Sunak discussed the progress on the FTA during their telephonic conversation.

Sunak also congratulated PM Modi on Team India’s strong performance in the ongoing Cricket World Cup.

“Turning to the friendship between the UK and India, the leaders discussed recent progress on Free Trade Agreement negotiations. They agreed on the importance of securing an ambitious deal that benefitted both sides,” the UK government said in a statement. (ANI)

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