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UK foreign secretary meets EAM Jaishankar, exchanges views on India’s G20 agenda



United Kingdom Foreign Secretary James Cleverly arrived in New Delhi for the G20 Foreign Ministers’ meet on March 1-2. Cleverly held talks on Wednesday with his Indian counterpart External Affairs Minister (EAM) S. Jaishankar and discussed progress on the UK-India 2030 Roadmap clinched in 2021 to bolster bilateral ties across defence, security, and business and trade. 

“Reviewed the progress in our relationship since our last discussion. Noted in particular the commencement of the Young Professional Scheme,” tweeted EAM Jaishankar. “Also exchanged views on the global situation as well as the G20 agenda,” he added. 

“India and the UK stand united as friends and partners. We are working together for the benefit of both our great nations,” tweeted Cleverly following the meeting. 

“India’s G20 presidency is quite exciting, it has fantastic opportunities. This is a great opportunity to talk about sustainable economic agenda and green agenda,” Cleverly told ANI.

“We do lot of business with India & are working extensively. I’ll be meeting India’s trade secretary. We want to make sure this trade agreement really benefits both the countries & unlocks biillion of pounds of bilateral trade,” he further stated. 

During a visit to the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi on Wednesday, the visiting UK foreign secretary will mark the opening of the new Young Professionals Scheme, which began accepting applications this week for young British and Indian nationals to apply to live and work in each other’s countries for up to two years. “This landmark migration scheme will enable the brightest and best in both our countries to benefit from new opportunities,” Cleverly had said earlier.

The UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) said Cleverly is also set to reaffirm the UK’s commitment to conclude a free trade agreement (FTA) with India during an India-Europe business event in Delhi.

Thursday, Cleverly will attend the G20 Foreign Ministers meeting under India’s Presidency to highlight the UK’s goal to advance global efforts on food and energy security, climate change and development.

UK to announce Tech envoy to Indo-Pacific

UK will also announce the first Tech Envoy to the strategically important Indo-Pacific, charged with boosting tech and economic ties with India and the wider region. According to official UK government data, the UK-India trading relationship was worth GBP 34 billion in 2022 – growing by GBP 10 billion in one year.

“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,” Cleverly had said ahead of the visit. “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 basing our first Tech Envoy to the Indo-Pacific region, to maximise the tech expertise of both countries,” he said.

The FCDO said the new Tech Envoy role will boost the UK’s status as a science and tech superpower as the envoy works with partners in the region on areas of shared interest, including setting global technology standards and helping to solve challenges through innovative technology.

The announcement is the second of its kind by the UK, after the appointment of a Tech Envoy to the US in late 2020, something the UK government says demonstrates a commitment to the Indo-Pacific and tech-diplomacy.

“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 USD 1 billion. This announcement illustrates the UK’s clear commitment to boosting partnerships in India and across South Asia,” FCDO said.

FCDO said the British minister will also “continue to call Russia out at the G20 and work with partners to mitigate the global impacts of Russian aggression in Ukraine”, saying that if “the war were to end today, the effects of the exacerbated food insecurity would still run into 2027”.

(with PTI Inputs)

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