Published On: Mon, Apr 16th, 2018

Brexit BOOST: Indian visit brings promise of STRONG commonwealth and TRADE ties | UK | News


Mr Modi will arrive in London on Wednesday for meetings with Theresa May before attending other Commonwealth related events at Windsor alongside other leaders over the weekend.

Michael Lake, Director of the Royal Commonwealth Society, commented on Mr Modi’s visit, saying: “As India cements its status as an economic superpower, it is increasingly apparent that they are starting to see the enormous potential of the Commonwealth as a ready-made soft power network.”

India has now become the world’s fastest-growing major economy, and the UK Government is keen to develop stronger links with the country as it begins to pursue free-trade deals following Brexit.

Last year alone, total bilateral trade between the UK and India rose 15 per cent, but this follows several years of falling trade.

Trade between the UK and India stood at £19.4bn in 2011, but only reached £18bn in 2017.

Mrs May is likely to focus her discussions with Mr Modi on technology, and the Indian Prime Minister is expected to visit ‘Silicon Roundabout’, a region surrounding Old Street in London which the Government is keen to promote as a tech hub.

But Geethanjali Nataraj, Professor of economics at the Indian Institute of Public Administration, warned that a free-trade deal between the UK and India may not be so simple.

She said: “Britain is keen to sign a free-trade agreement eventually, but to do that it will have to offer easier visas.”

The Indian government has been pushing for visa liberalisation for many years, stressing that it wants the UK to make it easier for Indians to obtain student and work visas.

Mrs May is however reportedly only planning to offer relaxed visa requirements for those working in the tech industry, falling short of the broad-based liberalisation the Indian government had been seeking.

This comes as other officials have described a sometimes tense relationship between the UK and Indian Prime Ministers.

One British official commented on the relationship, saying: “Personal relations between the two prime ministers are not great.

“She does not do basic things like calling him to update him after a terrorist attack. It is embarrassing really.”

Yashvardhan Kumar Sinha, the Indian High Commissioner to London, also recently stated that Britain had a “very dated or very incomplete” knowledge of India, based on “nostalgia, the Raj or their connections”.

Mr Modi’s growing interest in the Commonwealth is also reportedly based on the fact that China is not a member, as China has made large investments in countries around India and is one of the country’s leading competitors.

One official based in New Delhi said: “The Commonwealth is useful to us because it gives us a chance to talk to fellow Asian countries without China being in the room.”



Source link

Most Popular News