Your Excellency, Prime Minister Boris Johnson,DISCLAIMER: This is the approximate translation of Prime Minister’s remarks. Original remarks were delivered in Hindi.
Our friends from the media,
First of all, I extend a warm welcome to Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his delegation to India.
This may be his first visit to India as Prime Minister, but as an old friend of India, he knows and understands India very well. For the past several years, Prime Minister Johnson has played a very important role in strengthening the relations between India and the UK.
At the time, when India is celebrating the Amrit Mahotsav of its independence, Prime Minister Boris Johnson's visit is a historic moment in itself. And yesterday, the whole of India saw that you started your visit to India by paying homage to Mahatma Gandhi at Sabarmati Ashram.
Last year, we established the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership between the two countries. And to give direction to our relationship in the present decade we had also launched an ambitious ‘Roadmap 2030’. In our conversation today, we also reviewed the progress made in this roadmap, and set some goals for the future.
Teams of both countries are working on the subject of Free Trade Agreement. Good progress is being made in the negotiations. And we have decided to make full efforts towards the conclusion of the FTA by the end of this year. In the last few months, India has concluded Free Trade Agreements with UAE and Australia. At the same pace, with the same commitment, we would like to move forward on the FTA with the UK as well.
We have also agreed to enhance cooperation in the defence sector. We welcome the UK's support for ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ in all sectors of manufacturing, technology, design and development in the defence sector.
We also had discussions on the comprehensive reforms going on in India, our infrastructure modernization plan and the National Infrastructure Pipeline. We welcome the increasing investment in India by UK companies. And, a good example of this we got to see yesterday at Halol in Gujarat.
1.6 million people of Indian origin living in the UK are making positive contributions to the society and every sector of the economy. We are proud of their achievements. And we want to strengthen this living bridge further. Prime Minister Johnson has personally contributed a lot in this direction. I congratulate him for this.
We expressed our commitment to fulfil the resolutions taken at the COP-26 held in Glasgow. Today we decided to further deepen our climate and energy partnership. We invite the UK to join India's National Hydrogen Mission. And I sincerely welcome the establishment of the Strategic Tech Dialogue between us.
Today, the conclusion of the implementation arrangements of the Global Innovation Partnership between us will prove to be a very important initiative. This will further strengthen our development partnership with other countries. Under this, India and the UK will co-finance up to $100 million for transfer and scaling-up of "Made in India" innovations to third countries. These will also help in achieving sustainable development goals, and in efforts to tackle climate change. This will prove to be very useful for our start-ups and MSME sector in exploring new markets, and in making their innovations global.
We also discussed the many developments taking place at the regional and global level. We emphasized on having an Indo-Pacific region which is based on a free, open, inclusive and rules-based order. India welcomes the UK's decision to join the Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative.
We stressed on dialogue and diplomacy for an immediate ceasefire and resolution of the problem in Ukraine. We also reiterated the importance of respect for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of all countries.
We reiterated our support for a peaceful, stable and secure Afghanistan having an inclusive and representative government. It is essential that Afghan territory must not be used to spread terrorism in other countries.
You have always made special efforts to strengthen the relationship between India and the UK. For this we commend you.
Once again, a warm welcome to you and your delegation to India.
Thank you very much!