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UK PM Boris Johnson to visit India in April, earlier scheduled tour in January was cancelled due to Covid concerns in Britain

Prime Minister Johnson was invited as a guest by India for the Republic Day celebrations in January this year. His trip to India was expected to speed up trade talks between the two countries. However, he had to cancel his visit due to surging Covid-19 cases in the UK.

The United Kingdom (UK) Prime Minister Boris Johnson is slated to visit India in the month of April this year to boost the relationship between India and the UK. This will be PM Johnson’s first major international visit after the exit of Britain from the European Union (EU) in January last year.

Johnson’s visit scheduled in January was cancelled due to rising Covid cases in the UK

Prime Minister Johnson was invited as a guest by India for the Republic Day celebrations in January this year. His trip to India was expected to speed up trade talks between the two countries. However, he had to cancel his visit due to surging Covid-19 cases in the UK. Ahead of PM Johnson’s expected visit in January this year, his office had reportedly announced that he would travel to India in January 2021 to strengthen a key strategic relationship that supports jobs and investment across the UK.

The visit to India is seen as his first major visit since taking office, and the first since the UK’s exit from the EU. After the trip was cancelled, his office reportedly said that PM Johnson hoped to rearrange his visit to India before hosting the meeting of leaders from the Group of Seven (G7) in June. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is supposed to attend the G7 Summit as a visitor. Britain is hosting the G7 meet this year and Australia and South Korea are the other invitees apart from the member nations.

The UK planning to boost its trade relations with India

“…it would ’tilt’ its focus towards the Indo-Pacific region as part of its Integrated Review of government policy for the coming years, saying the area increasingly represented the geopolitical centre of the world”, PM Johnson’s office said regarding his upcoming visit. Last month, the UK had made a formal request to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), an 11-country bloc, to open new ways for trade and influence post-Brexit. Britain has also applied to be a dialogue partner of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). “We are pursuing trade deals from Australia to the US and around the world, particularly in the Indo-Pacific region, a huge growth market for the future”, UK’s foreign minister Dominic Raab said in December last year.

 

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