NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi today welcomed his British counterpart Theresa May, who said at a tech summit in Delhi that it was vital to identify ways to deepen the trade relationship between the two countries before UK leaves the European Union. She also announced at the event that the travel to the UK for Indians would be made easy.
Here are the top 10 developments:
- Ms May, who will hold bilateral talks over lunch with PM Modi this afternoon, said Britain would offer expedited clearance at the UK borders under a Registered Traveler Scheme to business travelers from India.
- She said she wanted Britain to become a global standard bearer of free trade, saying more investment and fewer barriers to trade between Britain and India would boost prosperity. India and UK she said, share a “special bond.”
- PM Modi said the UK is a “great friend” of India and also, “We expect Make In India to be an important aspect of the India-UK bilateral engagement.”
- “It is vital that India and UK, two countries linked by history, work together to define the knowledge economy of the 21st century,” Prime Minister Modi said.
- Ms May arrived in smog-bound New Delhi late on Sunday on a trade-focused visit and will travel to technology hub Bengaluru on Tuesday. She is accompanied by a delegation of around three dozen business leaders.
- In her first visit after she took office in July, the 60-year-old Conservative leader is expected to discuss with PM Modi a possible Free Trade Deal between the countries now that Britain is preparing to leave the European Union.
- The British PM’s three-day visit comes in the backdrop of the historic June referendum in UK favouring Brexit or an exit from the EU and as part of the new May-led government’s move to step up engagement with countries outside the 28-nation European Union.
- Although Britain cannot sign any bilateral trade deals until it has left the European Union — most likely in 2019 — May’s visit is seen as signalling a desire to get the ball rolling as early as possible.
- IT professionals have asked how there there can be better trade with Ms May’s government making it tougher for Indian professionals to travel to that country with tougher new rules for visa and immigration.
- “If anything, I see further tightening of visa rules. Free Trade Deal with India will be tough because I see India then automatically asking for liberalisation of visas as a quid pro quo. I think trade with India will be difficult in the years to come because of the new centrality over immigration.” said political analyst, Professor Anand Menon of King’s College London.