Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his British counterpart Rishi Sunak on Saturday reviewed the progress of the India-UK Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations and expressed hope that the remaining issues could be ironed out at the earliest so that a "balanced, mutually beneficial and forward-looking" trade deal is concluded soon.
During his bilateral meeting with Sunak on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in New Delhi, Modi conveyed his appreciation for the UK’s support during India’s G20 Presidency, marked by high-level participation at various G20 meetings and events, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said in a press release.
This is the 43-year-old British Indian leader's first visit to India since becoming Prime Minister in October 2022.
The two leaders noted with satisfaction the progress in diverse areas of bilateral cooperation as per the India-UK Comprehensive Strategic Partnership as well as the Roadmap 2030, particularly in economy, defence and security, technology, green technology and climate change, health and mobility sectors, it said.
Both leaders also exchanged views on international and regional issues of importance and mutual interest.
Modi and Sunak "also reviewed the progress of Free Trade Agreement negotiations and expressed hope that the remaining issues could be addressed at the earliest so that a balanced, mutually beneficial and forward-looking Free Trade Agreement is concluded soon," the MEA said.
In a post on X after the meeting, Modi said, "Great to have met PM @RishiSunak on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Delhi. We discussed ways to deepen trade linkages and boost investment."
India and the UK will keep working for a prosperous and sustainable planet, Modi said.
Earlier, a readout from 10 Downing Street of the meeting said that cooperation in the field of defence technology, innovation and some consular issues were among the topics on the agenda of the meeting.
Prime Minister Modi is also said to have highlighted the “warm reception” that Sunak has received during his maiden visit to India as British Prime Minister.
"The leaders had a productive conversation about negotiations on a UK-India Free Trade Agreement," a Downing Street spokesperson said.
"The Prime Minister (Sunak) reiterated the UK’s ambition to deliver a landmark trade deal which benefits businesses and workers in both countries and grows our trade in both goods and services. They agreed that ministers and negotiating teams would continue to work at pace towards an FTA,” the spokesperson said.
Sunak, who arrived here on Friday, held talks with Modi after the first session of the G20 Summit. Earlier, Sunak greeted Modi with a namaste as the latter received him at the venue.
Sunak is said to have congratulated Prime Minister Modi on India’s “consummate presidency” of the G20 this year, which he said had demonstrated the country’s “vital global leadership and influence”.
“The leaders reflected on the close and growing ties between the UK and India, exemplified in the ‘living bridge’ between our people. They agreed it was important to build on the past and focus on the future, cementing a modern partnership in cutting-edge defence technology, trade and innovation. They also discussed a number of consular issues,” the spokesperson said.
“The Prime Minister congratulated Prime Minister Modi again on delivering a successful G20 Summit,” the spokesperson added.
Meanwhile, the MEA said Modi invited Sunak for a bilateral visit at an early, mutually convenient date for a more detailed discussion. The British leader accepted the invitation and congratulated Prime Minister Modi for a successful G20 Summit.