India: Possibility of UK trade deal 'much higher' says expert
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Indian diplomat Bhaswati Mukherjee has praised the business ties between India and the United Kingdom following Brexit. She has also argued that following moves to move away from value chains from China, the UK and India are now much better placed to secure a lucrative free trade deal with one another.
Ambassador Mukherjeeboth told DD India: “The UK and India are want to move away from the value chains away from China to other options, and this is something that is shared by the United States and the European Union.
“Under those circumstances, the possible possibility today of having an FTA is much higher because earlier I do recall that one of the issues which held us up was the question of mobility mode or FWTO as we call it, people to people, the ability of both sides to move freely for business, trade, etcetera.
“That is now no longer a problem post-Brexit because this is trade between UK and India.
“We can always work out business visas Fast Track visas, we already have, in fact, Fast Track visas. “
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She added: “So this was one of the obstacles which have been worked out and what is going in our favour, as you rightly pointed out earlier, was the very heavy Indian investment into the UK.
“So it really is two-way traffic.”
It comes as UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss and her Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, both visited India in competing efforts to strengthen ties with New Delhi as the war in Ukraine rages.
Ms Truss is holding talks with counterparts amid concern in the West about Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s reluctance to publicly condemn the actions of Russia – a long-standing ally dating back to the Cold War.
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India, which is heavily reliant on Moscow for arms imports, has abstained in a series of votes in the United Nations on the issue.
Mr Lavrov will use his visit to push for closer trade links to help reduce the impact of economic sanctions imposed by the West on Russia following the invasion.
Earlier this month, India agreed to import three million barrels of heavily discounted Russian oil as Moscow was forced to drop prices due to the effect of international sanctions.
Although the amounts are relatively small, there are concerns that volumes could increase in the coming months, potentially weakening the impact of economic restrictions.
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In a statement, Ms Truss said: “Deeper ties between Britain and India will boost security in the Indo-Pacific and globally, and create jobs and opportunities in both countries.
“This matters even more in the context of Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine and underlines the need for free democracies to work closer together in areas like defence, trade and cyber security.
“India is an economic and tech powerhouse, the world’s largest democracy and a great friend of Britain, and I want to build an even closer relationship between our two nations.”
Ms Truss will use her visit to confirm £70 million of UK investment funding to support the development of renewable energy in India, which remains one of the world’s biggest users of hydrocarbons.
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