New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday spoke to new British premier Rishi Sunak with the two leaders agreeing on the importance of early conclusion of a comprehensive and balanced free trade agreement between the two countries.
It was their first conversation since Indian-origin Sunak took charge as British prime minister on Tuesday.
Sunak also tweeted his thanks to Modi and said he is excited about what the two “great democracies” can achieve as they deepen their security, defence and economic partnership in the months and years ahead.
Modi tweeted, “Glad to speak to Rishi Sunak today. Congratulated him on assuming charge as UK PM. We will work together to further strengthen our Comprehensive Strategic Partnership. We also agreed on the importance of early conclusion of a comprehensive and balanced FTA.” Sunak responded, “Thank you Prime Minister Narendra Modi for your kind words as I get started in my new role. The UK and India share so much. I’m excited about what our two great democracies can achieve as we deepen our security, defence and economic partnership in the months & years ahead.” India and Britain launched negotiations for the free-trade agreement (FTA) in January with an aim to conclude talks by Diwali but the deadline was missed due to a lack of consensus on issues.
Sunak, in his previous role as Chancellor of the Exchequer, had expressed support for the FTA as he saw enormous opportunities for both countries in the fintech and insurance sectors.
Sunak is an investment banker-turned politician and at 42, is the youngest British prime minister in 210 years. He is also Britain’s first Hindu Prime Minister.
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