“Enormous Progress, Still Hard Work To Go”: Rishi Sunak On Free Trade Deal With India

The British Prime Minister said both he and PM Narendra Modi are keen to deepen and broaden the relationship between the two countries.

New Delhi: The ambitious Free Trade Agreement (FTA) under discussion between India and the United Kingdom has made “enormous progress” but there is “still hard work to go,” British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said.

Stating that the bilateral relations between India and the United Kingdom are in “good health”, Mr Sunak said that both he and Prime Minister Narendra Modi are keen to deepen and broaden the relationship between the two nations. He stated that the trade deal is an obvious way to do that and it remains the priority of both the countries.

“Both Modi ji and I are keen to see a comprehensive and ambitious trade deal concluded between our two countries. Both of us think there is a good deal to be done. But trade deals always take time, they need to work for both countries. Although we have made enormous progress there is still hard work to go…” Mr Sunak said in an exclusive interview with ANI.

The British PM who arrived here today to participate in the Summit of the Group of 20 major economies said that the trade deal is not yet a done deal.

Negotiations for the deal began in January 2022 and so far there have been 12 rounds of negotiations with the next one due to be held later this month.

Mr Sunak said there is an enormous opportunity for both India and the UK to strengthen economic cooperation “which will bring real benefits to our citizens in both countries.”

“The G20 is not the forum for those discussions. Of course, I will touch on that with Prime Minister Modi, but the teams are working very hard. But as I said there’s hard work to go but we will keep working through it,” Mr Sunak said.

“I think we can strengthen our security relationship as well. That’s something that I’ve spoken to the Prime Minister about,” the British PM said.

Mr Sunak further emphasised increasing collaboration between the researchers, scientific community and universities.

He added that UK and India are two of the leading science and technology superpowers of the world.

“Something I’m particularly excited about is increasing the collaboration between our incredible researchers, our scientific community, our universities. The UK and India are two of the leading science technology superpowers of the world. And I think if we work more closely together, we can create jobs, create new businesses, and help solve some of the world’s most pressing problems,” Mr Sunak said.

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