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UK Foreign Minister in India to boost economic, tech ties



James Cleverly will meet External Affairs Minister Dr Subrahmanyam Jaishankar on Wednesday, ahead of foreign ministers meeting in New Delhi on Thursday.

New Delhi,UPDATED: Mar 1, 2023 15:02 IST


UK Foreign Secretary James Cleverly. (Photo: Reuters)

By Geeta Mohan: UK Foreign Minister James Cleverly is visiting India to inaugurate the ‘Young Professionals Scheme’ at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in Delhi on Wednesday. The scheme is said to be an ambitious new partnership between the United Kingdom and India that will allow up to 3,000 British and 3,000 Indians each year to live and work in each other’s country for up to two years.

James Cleverly said, “India is a hugely important partner to the UK and the deeper ties we are forging now will help to grow the UK economy and boost our industries for the future.”

“This landmark migration scheme will enable the brightest and best in both our countries to benefit from new opportunities,” added the foreign secretary.

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James Cleverly will meet External Affairs Minister Dr Subrahmanyam Jaishankar on Wednesday, ahead of the foreign ministers’ meeting in New Delhi on Thursday. The meeting is expected to focus on the status of the UK-India 2030 Roadmap. The roadmap aims to strengthen the two countries’ defence and security, trade, and investment ties.

James Cleverly will also announce the creation of the UK’s first Tech Envoy to the Indo-Pacific region, who will boost ties with India as a priority.

According to James Cleverly, this envoy is the second of its kind to be announced by the UK (after the appointment of a Tech Envoy to the US in late 2020). This will demonstrate their commitment to the region and tech diplomacy.

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The role of the new Tech Envoy aims to boost the UK’s status as a “science and tech superpower”.

As per the foreign minister, the envoy will work with the partners concerned in the region on areas of shared interest, including setting global technology standards and helping to solve challenges through innovative technology.

“India is also an emerging global leader in technology and there are immense opportunities for better collaboration between us in this sector. That is why we will be sending our first Tech Envoy to the Indo-Pacific region, to maximise the tech expertise of both countries.” said James Cleverly.

India has the world’s third-highest number of tech unicorns and start-ups, with 108 start-ups gaining the unicorn status of a private company valued at over $1 billion. This announcement illustrates the UK’s clear commitment to boosting partnerships in India and across South Asia.

Also Read | Want to see India play active part on world stage dictated by its size, economic heft: UK

On Thursday, the foreign minister will attend the G20 Foreign Ministers meeting to work with partners to advance global efforts on food and energy security, climate change and development. He aims to call Russia out at the G20 and work with partners to mitigate the global impacts of Russian aggression in Ukraine.

According to James Cleverly, if the war were to end today, the effects of exacerbated food insecurity would still run into 2027.

James Cleverly will also address an India-Europe business event in the national capital where he is expected to reaffirm the UK’s commitment to conclude a ‘Free Trade Agreement’ with India.

The UK-India trading relationship is already worth £34 billion, growing by £10 billion in one year.

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