Modi, Sunak to meet on G-20 summit sideline

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Modi, Sunak to meet on G-20 summit sideline

Saturday, 29 October 2022 | Pioneer News Service | New Delhi

Modi, Sunak to meet on G-20 summit sideline

Following their first telephonic interaction on Thursday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Britain counterpart Rishi Sunak will meet in person on the sidelines of the G-20 Summit in Bali, Indonesia, mid-November.

In their talks, Modi had emphasised the need for an early conclusion of the proposed Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the two sides. It was expected to be firmed up by Diwali but some stumbling blocks have delayed it.

The issue of FTA may come up during talks here on Saturday between External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and his UK counterpart James Cleverly. He arrived in Mumbai on Friday and will travel to New Delhi the next day.  Both the Ministers will discuss strengthening UK-India relationship.

Data localisation and UK companies being allowed to bid for Indian Government contracts are among the issues causing a possible deadlock in the final stages of the India-UK free trade agreement (FTA) negotiations towards a Diwali draft completion deadline, reports suggested.

A statement issued by 10, Downing Street after the telephonic talks said  Sunak spoke to Modi, this afternoon.

Modi conveyed his best wishes on the Prime Minister’s appointment on behalf of 1.6 billion Indians. The Prime Minister said he was a visual representation of the historic links between the UK and India, and intended to build on this relationship to develop ever closer ties between our two countries. Discussing shared global challenges, the Prime Minister praised Modi’s leadership on tackling climate change and the leaders welcomed opportunities to bolster our security, defence and economic partnership.

The Prime Minister hoped the UK and India could continue to make good progress in negotiations to finalise a comprehensive Free Trade Agreement.

The leaders also agreed to work together as two great democracies to strengthen the developing economies of the world, and looked forward to meeting in person at the G20 in Indonesia. After the talks, Modi tweeted “Glad to speak to Sunak today. Congratulated him on assuming charge as UK PM.”

He added, “We will work together to further strengthen our Comprehensive Strategic Partnership. We also agreed on the importance of early conclusion of a comprehensive and balanced FTA.”

In response to Modi’s tweet, Sunak thanked the Indian Prime Minister for his “kind words” as he was getting started in his “new role”.

“The UK and India share so much. I’m excited about what our two great democracies can achieve as we deepen our security, defence and economic partnership in the months and years ahead,” Sunak wrote in his tweet.

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