India says change in British leadership would not impact relationship

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Meeting of Prime Minisser Narendra Modi and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson in New Delhi April 18, 2022 Photo: mea.gov.in photogallery

India said that the resignation of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will not impact its relationship with UK as both countries share a close multifaceted partnership.

“PM Modi and PM Johnson have enjoyed a very close friendship. UK is an important strategic partner and we have shared a multifaceted partnership and relationship, which India would like to continue as it is based on links at various levels between our two people as well as various verticals as we discussed, as part of our partnership,” the Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said on Thursday, July 7, 2022.

The resignation of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is an internal development which India is closely watching but the relations between the two countries will not be impacted by the change in the country’s leadership, Bagchi added.
As for any impact of Boris Johnson’s resignation on the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) deal between the two countries, Bagchi said that the negotiations between India and UK on FTA are going on and India hopes to sign the deal soon.

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“There is some degree of optimism that it could be done soon. We are speculating if Boris Johnson’s resignation will impact the deal, but India hopes to carry forward the good momentum in the talks that are underway,” he added.

However, while there is no deadline to sign the deal, India looks forward to signing it by Diwali this year “We have not set the deadline, it is a commerce-led process. But it would be great if it could be done within the time,” Bagchi said.

Meanwhile, following mass resignations by Cabinet members which started on Wednesday Johnson said he was stepping down.He expressed his ‘regret’ at his inability to hold onto his position as Prime Minister while stressing that he is ‘immensely proud’ of his achievements in office.

A total of 58 ministers quit the government following an ethics scandal which ultimately forced the UK premier to resign.

India and the UK announced their intention to have a comprehensive free trade agreement during a virtual summit held in May 2021 between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his then British counterpart Boris Johnson. Formal negotiations on the proposed FTA between the two countries started early this year.

A number of non-tariff barriers, like rules related to investor protection, intellectual property rights, and harmonization of governance and standards, are among the key sticky points in the FTA that India and the United Kingdom had indicated they might sign by Diwali this year.

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