India is set to hold a virtual summit with the United Kingdom on Tuesday. Post the cancellation of his planned trip to India due to Covid situation, Prime Minister Boris Johnson will now attend the high-level virtual meeting with his Indian counterpart to discuss bilateral ties. Both Modi and Johnson are expected to announce the launch of talks on a post-Brexit trade deal and a roadmap to 2030 for future relations.
According to the official press release of the Ministry of External Affairs, the online India-UK conference will be a significant opportunity to elevate bilateral multi-faceted strategic ties and enhance cooperation on regional and global issues of mutual interest. Both Modi and Johnson will also discuss Covid19 cooperation and the global efforts to fight the pandemic.
New Delhi has enjoyed a Strategic Partnership with London for more than fifteen years. It has been marked by regular high-level exchanges and growing convergences in diverse areas. “A comprehensive Roadmap 2030 will be launched during the Summit, which will pave the way for further expanding and deepening India-UK cooperation over the next decade across five key areas, namely people-to-people relationship, trade and prosperity, defence and security, climate action and healthcare,” the MEA press release further added.
Earlier last month, the UK Prime Minister had postponed his planned trip to India given the rising COVID-19 infection in the country, which is killing thousands every day. The UK has already delivered three shipments of medical supplies to Indian hospitals for Covid-19 related assistance under which the European country supplied around 500 oxygen concentrators, 200 ventilators and three oxygen generation units. In addition to this, India will also receive another consignment of 1,000 ventilators from the UK’s surplus supply soon.
Also, UK’s Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty and Chief Scientific Adviser Patrick Vallance have also communicated with their Indian counterparts to provide assistance to the Indian healthcare system to battle against the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic. NHS England is also establishing a clinical advisory group headed by Chief People Officer Prerana Issar to support India’s Covid response. The group will work with Indian institutions including the AllMS to share experience on managing Covid outbreaks.
Indian External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar will also be in London for a four-day visit from Monday for G7 Foreign Ministers summit. He will also hold a meeting with English Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab to discuss bilateral relations. As the host of the G-7 meet, Johnson has invited the leaders of India, Australia and South Korea to the meet in the Cornwall region in June. Also expected to take place virtually this week is a summit of Indian and European leaders, where PM Modi will interact with the leaders of all 27 European countries on Friday. Modi was expected to travel to Portugal for the meeting, but the visit had to be called off due to a devastating second wave of covid-19 infections at home.
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