Boris Johnson has announced £1 billion of trade with India, in a move set to create more than 6,000 jobs, as the UK looks to foster closer ties with the nation.
The Prime Minister will attend a virtual meeting with his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi on Tuesday, after he was forced to cancel his planned visit to Delhi due to the country’s worsening coronavirus situation.
Downing Street said the package contains more than £533m of new investment from India into the UK, expected to create more than 6,000 jobs in sectors such as health and technology.
This includes some £240 million investment by the Serum Institute of India, supporting clinical trials, research and possibly the manufacturing of vaccines.
Meanwhile, Downing Street said British businesses have secured export deals with India worth more than £446 million, which is expected to create more than 400 British jobs.
During the virtual talks, the two leaders are expected to agree an enhanced trade partnership, which Number 10 said will pave the way for a future UK-India free trade agreement.
Mr Johnson said: “Like every aspect of the UK-India relationship, the economic links between our countries make our people stronger and safer.
“Each and every one of the more than 6,500 jobs we have announced today will help families and communities build back from coronavirus and boost the British and Indian economies.
“In the decade ahead, with the help of new partnership signed today and a comprehensive free trade agreement, we will double the value of our trading partnership with India and take the relationship between our two countries to new highs.”
The Prime Minister’s visit – to foster close ties as part of Britain’s foreign policy “tilt” towards the Indo-Pacific – was first scheduled for January, but was delayed due to the UK’s winter wave of infections.
A four-day trip was then scheduled in April before being cut back to just one day in Delhi, before being postponed indefinitely last month, with India subsequently added to the UK’s travel red list.
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