Modi-Johnson virtual meeting launches 2030 Vision . . .
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson met virtually on Tuesday. They inked economic deals worth C$1.7 billion, including C$903 million in Indian investment in the U.K., and trade deals worth C$789 million. The leaders also discussed working together on a number of areas, including fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, co-operation among universities, security, and a bilateral migration scheme. These issues are all part of a 2030 Vision for India-U.K. relations that aims to significantly boost bilateral relations on a range of issues.
India participates in concurrent G7 ministerial meetings . . .
The Modi-Johnson meeting was initially supposed to occur in person last week, but due to the severity of the COVID-19 resurgence in India, the meeting was postponed and made virtual. The U.K. also hosted the G7 Foreign and Development Ministerial Meetings this week, the first in-person G7 meeting in two years. The U.K. invited the foreign ministers of India, Australia, South Korea, and South Africa to strengthen ties with players in the Indo-Pacific. The G7 delegates expressed concern about and how to address China’s “arbitrary, coercive economic policies and practices” and the situation of the Uyghurs in Xinjiang. The G7 also called for expanding COVID-19 vaccine production and the need to create a “common platform” to recognize travellers’ vaccine status.
India’s growing importance to Europe . . .
At Tuesday’s India-U.K. bilateral meeting, Johnson reiterated his invitation to Modi to join the G7 Summit in June. According to a U.K. government statement earlier this year, the invitation is part of London’s attempt to ensure that “multilateral institutions better reflect today’s world.” Meanwhile, India and the EU will restart free trade talks, which have been on hiatus since 2013, at a virtual summit on Saturday. A pre-Brexit estimate held that an India-EU trade deal could be worth C$12.5 billion. A part of the India-U.K. 2030 Vision aims to put the two countries on a path towards a free trade agreement. In light of these developments, India could become a much more significant partner for Europe in the coming years.