Fri, 18 Nov 2022 09:52 PM IST
RISHI Sunak, the UK Prime Minister, said on Friday that his government is committed to working "as quickly as possible" towards a successful conclusion to the ongoing free trade agreement (FTA) talks with India, as most of the negotiation conversations were completed at the end of the month.
PM Sunak was pressed on the timeline for the agreement's completion by opposition Labour Party Leader Keir Starmer as well as his own conservative MPs.
"I discussed the free trade agreement with India, and both the Prime Minister of India and I committed our teams to working as quickly as possible to see if we can bring a successful conclusion to the negotiations," said Prime Minister Sunak, as quoted by news agency PTI.
"Without negotiating all these things in public, I am pleased that the majority of the substantive negotiation conversations were concluded by the end of October. We will now work at pace with the Indian teams to try to resolve the issues and come to a mutually satisfactory conclusion," he said.
Sunak also reiterated the UK government's stance that he would not sacrifice 'quality for speed' as it is important to get the trade deals right.
When asked about his other discussions with PM Modi, including whether he brought up the Ukraine-Russia conflict and the UK being an outlier within Europe by not offering the e-visa facility, he said, "I don't know."
"Our relationship and partnership with India are much broader than just a trading relationship. I was pleased to discuss increasing our security cooperation with India," said Rishi Sunak.
"We also announced the mobility scheme to enable young people from India to come here and young Brits to go there, which is a sign of what is possible. Such exchanges are positive both for our countries and for the young people who benefit," he said, with reference to the new UK-India Young Professionals Scheme launched at the summit earlier this week involving 3,000 new reciprocal visa offers annually for under-30s - dubbed as "good for both Indian students and British students who want to go back and forth," as quoted by news agency PTI.