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India hopes UK-EU divorce won't be ‘very acrimonious’, says Prabhu

| | LONDON

India is “friends” with both the UK and the European Union and is hopeful that the “divorce” between them after Brexit won't be “very acrimonious”, Union Minister Suresh Prabhu said here on Friday.

Highlighting that India has revived the stalled talks on a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the European Union (EU), the Commerce and Industry Minister stressed that New Delhi was keen to work on closer trade ties with both the UK and the 28-member economic bloc.

“The decision the EU and Britain have taken as a result of the referendum is between them. We are friends with both and hope for a very good outcome and good relations,” Prabhu told reporters.

“Even divorces can be mutually agreed and we hope this divorce is not very acrimonious and both sides part on a happy note,” he said.

During his ongoing visit for the India-UK Joint Economic and Trade Committee (JETCO) meeting in London, the minister held bilateral talks with UK international trade minister Liam Fox and met with leaders of UK business and industry.

He said all groups had expressed a growing interest in India's growth story and that India-UK ties were “very strong and equally balanced from both sides”.

The recommendations of the Joint Trade Review conducted by both countries were also presented to ministers to continue the work of the India-UK working group on trade, established to remove hurdles in the path of a post-Brexit free trade agreement (FTA).

“India is on track to grow faster and these talks were extremely forward looking but much more needs to be done. However, we have begun the year on a very good note,” Prabhu said.

During the bilateral discussions, India also raised its concerns over the mobility of its professionals and reducing “prohibitive” visa fees and called for a scheme which would allow Indian professionals to apply for a six-month UK visa and get access for two years.

“The services sector has to be present on the ground to provide services and the ease of getting visas creates lots of issues for professionals. We stressed on the difference between mobility and migration and I am sure of a positive outcome,” Prabhu said.      

 
 
 
 
 

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