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Monday, April 22, 2024

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak seeks to strengthen links with India

Tuesday saw Prime Minister Rishi Sunak continue his efforts to build links with India with a call with the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi.

One of the main topics under discussion on the Free Trade Agreement negotiations – which had stalled previously.  This deal concerns better economic link between the two countries, and greater access for skilled workers between the two nations.

The issues raised in the call are particularly important for the Indian PM, with the 2024 Indian general election looming. The elections are expected to be held in India between April and May 2024.

There is pressure on for Mr Sunak also, who himself previously said that he expected to call a UK election in the second half of this year, with pressure from some quarters to call it even earlier.  Securing a major trade deal could boost support for both administrations in a critical period.

The phone call marks the latest move in Mr Sunak’s ongoing efforts to build links between the two countries, not just in economic terms, but culturally too.  Speaking previously on the subject, he commented:

“We are all very aware of the opportunity for the UK to sell things and do things in India, but actually we need to look at that relationship differently because there is an enormous amount that we here in the UK can learn from India.

“I want to make sure that it’s easy for our students to also travel to India and learn, that it’s also easy for our companies and Indian companies to work together, because it’s not just a one – way relationship, and that’s the type of change I want to bring to that relationship”.

Mr Sunak also has strong personal ties with India. He is the first person of Indian origin to become British prime minister, and he has extended family in Punjab, India. He is also married to Akshata Murty, a renowned businesswoman, fashion designer and venture capitalist, since 2009.

She is also the daughter of Billionaire Narayana Murthy (unlike his wife and children, he spells his name with a “h”), founder of Indian Multinational Infosys, an IT company.

The phone conversation also compliments deals India has recently secured with nations such as Norway, Sweden and Iceland, worth a potential £78 billion to the Indian economy.




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