The minister says the UK is prioritizing the India trade deal but can’t give a timeline

Britain prioritizes reaching a free trade deal with India, its foreign minister told Reuters in his first visit to the country on Saturday, but declined to give a new deadline after one went missing this month.

Relations between the two countries will improve further under Rishi Sunak, whom this week became Britain’s first prime minister with Indian roots, James Cleverley said after a meeting with his Indian counterpart S Jaishankar in New Delhi.

“I had a wonderful opportunity to talk about some critical global issues, but not only about the strength of the bilateral partnership and our plans to work closely with India,” said Cleverly in an interview at British High’s residence. I also had an excellent opportunity to talk.”

He declined to say what the trade deal was, which in the turbulent few months in British politics, Sunak’s predecessors, Boris Johnson and Liz Truss, had hoped to be signed on Monday at the festival of Diwali.

Cleverly declined even to say if it could be finalized this year.

“But this is an important agreement for us and one that we are prioritizing and one that we will continue to make sure that our officials and our ministers speak regularly and work hard to make it happen. ,” They said.

“We’ve done much work. And we must remember that a comprehensive free trade agreement that we’re negotiating will never be simple. Still, it will help build our already strong ties and To make it future-focused is an essential vehicle.”

Previous sticking points included heavy import duties on British whiskey for sale in India. New Delhi is also keen on a more straightforward British visa for Indians.

Cleverly said, “we want to make sure our visa arrangements are quick and easy, convenient”.

The countries want to double bilateral trade by 2030, which now stands at over $31 billion.

Chaturvedi said the UK would not determine New Delhi’s foreign policy when asked about the G7 plan to cap Russian oil prices and its bid to persuade countries like India to do so.

India and Russia have close defence ties, and since the Ukraine war, India has become a major buyer of Russian oil.

“I don’t think it would be right for me as a British politician to dictate the policy of another country,” he said.

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