Boris Johnson to visit India at end of April
On Monday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s office said that he will visit India at the end of April in what will be his first major international trip after Britain’s exit from the European Union as part of efforts to boost UK opportunities in the region.
A trip had been planned in January as part of efforts to speed up trade talks between the two nations, but it was forced to cancel amid a surge of COVID-19 infections.
A tilt towards the Indo-Pacific region has been said by Johnson’s government as part of its integrated review of government policy for the coming of years, saying the area increasingly represented the geopolitical entre of the world.
A formal request had been made by Britain last month to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), seeking membership of the 11-country bloc to open the new avenues for post-Brexit trade and influence and had also applied to become a dialogue partner of ASEAN.
Foreign Minister Dominic Raab wrote in December, “We are pursuing deals from Australia to the U.S. and around the world- particularly in the Indo-Pacific region, a huge growth market for the future”.
The visit becomes important in view of India's growing importance as a vaccine-manufacturer and a player in the Quad grouping. Last week the UK Parliament, in a 90-minute long session discussed about farmers protests and freedom of speech and media in India.
India had objected to this discussion and stated that this was solely an internal matter of the country