PM Modi and Britain’s Sunak Meet at G20, Discuss Ways To Boost Trade

The Indian prime minister said "robust ties" with the United Kingdom were of great importance to India.

New Delhi: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi met his British counterpart Rishi Sunak at the G20 summit in Bali on Wednesday, where the two leaders discussed “ways to boost trade between the two countries”.

It was the first meeting between Modi and Sunak, who is of Indian origin, since he became British prime minister in October.

A press release issued by the Indian Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said the two leaders “expressed satisfaction at the state of the wide-ranging India-UK Comprehensive Strategic Partnership and progress on the Roadmap 2030 for Future Relations”.

They also appreciated the importance of “working together in bilateral and multilateral forums including G20 and the Commonwealth”, the release said. Discussions touched upon important sectors of collaboration such as trade, mobility, defence and security, the statement added.

Earlier on Wednesday, Sunak’s office said Britain was negotiating a trade deal with India, which if agreed would be the first of its kind New Delhi would have made with a European country.

“They looked forward to the agreement of a UK-India free trade deal, which has the potential to unlock investment and increase jobs in both our countries, as well as expanding our deep cultural links,” Sunak’s office said in a statement.

Modi said “robust ties” with the United Kingdom were of great importance to India.

“We discussed ways to increase commercial linkages, raise the scope of security cooperation in context of India’s defence reforms and make people-to-people ties even stronger,” Modi said on Twitter after the meeting.

The two-day summit on the Indonesian island was the first time G20 leaders met since Russia’s February invasion of Ukraine, which Moscow describes as a “special military operation”.

After Indonesia, India will have the year-long G20 presidency, beginning on December 1.

Modi also met Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, among other leaders at the summit on Wednesday.

During their meeting, Modi and Albanese reviewed the progress made by the two countries in defence, trade, education and clean energy, the MEA said in a statement.

In a separate release, the MEA said that Meloni and Modi “discussed the deepening of bilateral cooperation in various sectors including trade and investment, counter-terrorism, and people to people ties” and “exchanged views on regional and global issues of mutual interest”.

Scholz and Modi discussed “the wide range of bilateral cooperation between India and Germany, which entered a new phase with the signing of the Partnership on Green and Sustainable Development by Prime Minister and Chancellor” during the 6th India-Germany Inter-Governmental Consultations, on May 2, 2022. They also agreed to deepen trade and investment ties and further increase cooperation in the areas of defence and security, migration and mobility, and infrastructure, the MEA said.

Macron and Modi met for a “working lunch” and reviewed “ongoing collaboration in diverse areas like defence, civil nuclear, trade and investment” and “welcomed the deepening of cooperation in new areas of economic engagement”.

A statement by the MEA on Modi’s meeting with Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said the two leaders “reiterated their commitment to further expand trade and investment linkages between the two countries particularly in Fintech, renewable energy, skill development, health and pharmaceutical sectors”. The Indian prime minister “invited” Singapore to invest in various sectors, including green economy, infrastructure, and digitalisation and to take advantage of India’s National Infrastructure Pipeline, Asset Monetisation Plan and the Gati Shakti Plan, the release said.

(With agency inputs)