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High Commission of India
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India-UK Bilateral Brief

India and UK have been enjoying cordial relations since time immemorial. In the recent time, the two countries have entered into a new era of bilateral relationships. During the India-UK Summit in virtual mode on 4 May 2021, Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi and The Rt Hon Boris Johnson, Prime Minister of UK, agreed to a new and transformational India-UK ‘Comprehensive Strategic Partnership’. On the same day on 4 May 2021, both the two Prime Ministers adopted an ambitious India-UK Roadmap 2030 to steer cooperation for the next ten years. The India-UK Roadmap is based on five pillars – trade and economy, people-to-people, health, defence and security areas.

Recent Visits/Engagements

2. Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi visited UK from 31 October to 2 November 2021 to attend COP26 World Leaders Summit in Glasgow. He had bilateral meeting with Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Mr. Boris Johnson, on 1 November 2021 on the side-lines of COP26 Summit. The two Prime Ministers reviewed the implementation of the Roadmap 2030 priorities.  On 2 November 2021, Prime Minister Modi and Prime Minister Johnson jointly launched the ambitious ‘One Sun, One World, One Grid’ (OSOWOG) programme and the Infrastructure for Resilient Island States (IRIS). The OSOWOG is a part of the International Solar Alliance (ISA); and the IRIS is a part of the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI).  

3. During his visit to UK from 9-11 July 2019, External Affairs Minister (EAM) Dr. S. Jaishankar participated in the Commonwealth Foreign Affairs Ministers’ Meeting and had a meeting with the then UK Foreign Secretary, during which wide ranging important issues were discussed.

4. EAM Dr. S. Jaishankar visited UK from 3-6 May 2021 to attend the G7 Foreign and Development Ministers’ Meeting. EAM had a bilateral meeting with UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab on 6 May (2021). During the visit, EAM also met with UK Home Secretary, Ms. Priti Patel on 4 May (2021). MoUs on: (i) India-UK Migration and Mobility Partnership (MMP) Agreement, and (ii) India-UK Global Innovation Partnership (GIP), were signed during EAM’s visit.

5. EAM Dr. S. Jaishankar met with Ms. Elizabeth Truss, UK’s Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, in New York on 20 September 2021, which was followed by another meeting of the two Ministers on 2 November 2021 during the COP26 Summit in Glasgow.

6. Minister of State for External Affairs, Shri V. Muraleedharan, visited UK on 18-19 December 2019. He addressed the Indian Diaspora at Nehru Centre on 19 December 2019, and also the Indian Diaspora at the celebration of 550th anniversary of Sri Guru Nanak Devji at Guild Hall, London.

7. Foreign Secretary, Shri Harsh Vardhan Shringla, visited the UK from 23-24 July 2021 to conduct a review of India-UK Comprehensive Partnership launched at the India-UK Summit of the two Prime Ministers on 4 May 2021.

8. Prince Charles visited India from 13-14 November 2019. During his stay, he held a bilateral discussion with the President Shri Ram Nath Kovind; visited a Sikh Gurudwara, where he learnt about the significance of the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak; and attended a Service of Remembrance commemorating the sacrifices of soldiers from India, the UK and across the Commonwealth in World War-I and World War-II.

9.  Lord Tariq Ahmad of Wimbledon, UK Minister of State for South Asia and the Commonwealth, visited India from 2-3 October 2019. Further, Lord Tariq Ahmad paid a virtual visit to India on 28 July 2020 and had virtual meeting with the Minister of State for External Affairs and Parliamentary Affairs, Shri Muraleedharan.

10. Former UK’s Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, Mr. Dominic Raab, visited India from 14-17 December 2020. Mr. Raab called on Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi on 16 December and held talks with EAM, Dr. Subrahmanyam Jaishankar. During the visit, in Delhi, Mr. Raab also met with the Minister of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, Shri Prakash Javadekar; and the Minister of Education, Shri Ramesh Pokhriyal. Mr. Raab also visited Bengaluru where he met the Chief Minister of Karnataka on 17 December 2020.

11. The UK Secretary of State for International Trade, Ms. Elizabeth Truss, visited India from 5-10 February 2021. The Minister for Commerce and Industry, Shri Piyush Goyal, and Ms. Elizabeth Truss, discussed the India - UK trade and investment relationship.

12. Mr. Alok Sharma, COP26 President, visited India from 15-17 February 2021.  He called on Hon’ble Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the visit. Mr. Alok Sharma also met with External Affairs Minister Dr S. Jaishankar; Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Shri Prakash Javadekar; Finance Minister Smt Nirmala Sitharaman; Minister for Power, New and Renewable Energy, Shri R.K. Singh; Minister for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, Shri Nitin Gadkari; Railways Minister Shri Piyush Goyal; G20 Sherpa, Shri Suresh Prabhu; and Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister, Shri P.K. Mishra.

13. Lord Tariq Ahmad, Minister of State for South Asia and the Commonwealth, visited India from 14-20 March 2021. He called on EAM Dr. S. Jaishankar, met with Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla, and other leaders in Delhi, Chandigarh, Chennai, Hyderabad and Mumbai.

14. COP26 President Alok Sharma visited India from 16-18 August 2021.  During the visit, he met with Shri Bhupender Yadav, Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, and Shri R.K. Singh, Minister of Power and New & Renewable Energy (NRE).

15. Ms. Elizabeth Truss, UK Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, visited India from 22-24 October 2021 and met with EAM Dr. S. Jaishankar. During the visit, Ms. Truss also met with the Minister of Finance, Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman, and the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Shri Bhupendra Yadav.

16. UK’s Minister for International Trade, Ms. Anne-Marie Trevelyan, visited India from 12-14 January 2022, and met the Minister for Commerce Industry, Shri Piyush Goel. India and UK formally launched negotiations for an Interim Agreement towards a comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (FTA) on 13 January 2022 in New Delhi.

17. On 31 March 2022, UK Foreign Secretary Elizabeth Truss visited India and had meetings with EAM Dr. S. Jaishankar, Minister of Finance Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman, and National Security Adviser Shri Ajit Doval.

India-UK Foreign Office Consultations (FOCs)

18. Foreign Secretary Shri Harsh Vardhan Shringla visited the UK from 3-4 November 2020 for the India-UK Foreign Office Consultations (4 November 2020). He held bilateral consultations with UK Permanent Under Secretary, FCDO, Sir Philip Barton. During the visit, the Foreign Secretary called on the UK Home Secretary Ms. Priti Patel; and Lord Tariq Ahmad, Minister of State for South Asia and the Commonwealth, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO). Foreign Secretary also met Acting National Security Advisor, David Quarrey.  Foreign Secretary set out a detailed blueprint of India’s Vision of the Indo-Pacific in an address at the premier UK Think Tank, ‘Policy Exchange’.

Economic Engagements

(i) India-UK bilateral merchandise trade (Trade in Goods & Trade in Service). 

19. India-UK total trade in goods and services was £21.5 billion from October 2020- September 2021. Of this £21.5 billion, total UK imports from India amounted to £13.8 billion while exports to India amounted to £7.7 billion. India was the UK’s 15th largest trading partner. The UK exported goods worth £4.1 billion and services worth £3.6 billion to India during the period and imported goods worth £7.7 billion and services worth £6.1 billion from India. In total, the UK reported a trade deficit of £6.1 billion with India.

(ii) Indian investment in UK

20. India invested in 99 projects and created 4,830 new jobs in the UK to become the second-largest source of foreign direct investment (FDI) after the US in 2020 according to the Department for International Trade (DIT) inward investment statistics for 2020-21. As per the CII-Grant Thornton India meets UK Report 2021, there are now a record 850 Indian companies operating in the UK, with combined revenues of almost £50.8 billion. Together, they paid over £459.2 million in corporation tax and employed 116,046 people.

(iii) Indian Diaspora Investment in UK

21. According to Grant Thornton and FICCI report titled “India in the UK: The Diaspora Effect” launched in February 2020, there are over 65,000 companies in the UK owned by Indian diaspora, out of which over 654 companies with annual turnover of £100,000 each have a combined annual turnover of £36.84 billion. The 654 companies pay over £ 1 billion in corporation tax and generate about 1,74,000 jobs. 

(iv) UK’s investment in India

22. UK is the 6th largest inward investor in India, after Mauritius, Singapore, Netherlands, Japan and USA with a cumulative equity investment of US $31.69 billion (April 2000 - December 2021), accounting for around 5.53% of all foreign direct investment into India. According to Global Britain and India report, some 600 UK companies operate in India creating over 800,000 jobs, claiming one in every 20 jobs in organised sector in India (GBI0015).

(v) India -UK Joint Economic and Trade Committee (JETCO)

23. A virtual 14th Joint Economic and Trade Committee (JETCO) meeting was held on 24 July 2020 between Shri Piyush Prakash Goyal, Minister of Railways and Commerce & Industry, and Ms Elizabeth Truss MP, UK’s Secretary of State for International Trade.

24. Ministers of State for Commerce and Industry, Shri Hardeep Singh Puri and his counterpart Mr Ranil Jayawardena, UK’s Minister for International Trade, met on 2 September and on 20 October 2020 to monitor progress in the Working Groups towards the agreed goal of an Enhanced Trade for an Interim Agreement and eventual FTA.

25. The 15th JETCO meeting was held in New Delhi on 13 January 2022 between Shri Piyush Goyal, Minister for CIM, Consumer Affairs & Food, and Public Distribution & Textiles, with UK’s Secretary of State for International Trade, Ms. Anne-Marie Trevelyan.

(vi) 11th EFD

26. The 11th Economic and Financial Dialogue (EFD) meeting was held on 2 September 2021 in virtual mode between Hon’ble Finance Minister of India, Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman and Mr. Rishi Sunak, Chancellor of Exchequer, UK. Their Joint Statement highlighted successful collaboration between Oxford University, AstraZeneca, and the Serum Institute of India; agreement to work towards a comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (FTA); possibility of signing a Social Security Agreement; progress of the UK-India strategic partnership on GIFT City (Gujarat International Finance Tec-City), amongst others.

27. To take forward the dialogue on Enhanced Trade Partnership (ETP) and prepare the ground for negotiation of FTA, a delegation led by Commerce Secretary, Mr. BVR Subrahmanyam, visited the UK from 27-28 September 2021. Commerce Secretary called on Ms. Anne-Marie Trevelyan, UK Secretary of State for International Trade, and met with Mr James Bowler, Permanent Secretary, of Department for International Trade (DIT), amongst others.

Defence

28. Chief of the Army Staff, General Manoj Mukund Naravane, visited UK from 4-6 July 2021. During his visit, he met with UK’s Secretary of State for Defence Mr. Ben Wallace.  General Sir Mark Carleton-Smith, Chief of the General Staff, UK Army, along with senior delegation members undertook a reciprocal visit to India from 25-29 October 2021. The UK CGS interacted with General MM Naravane, Chief of Army Staff, and General Bipin Rawat, Chief of Defence Staff, and also called on Lieutenant General Anil Chauhan, Military Adviser to the National Security Adviser.

29. General Sir Nick Carter, Chief of the Defence Staff, UK, visited India from 21-24 October 2021. During the visit, he had meetings with EAM Dr. S. Jaishankar, Foreign Secretary Shri Harsh Vardhan Shringla, and senior officials of the Ministry of Defence, New Delhi.

30. The UK’s Carrier Strike Group (CSG) made a port call at Indian Ports from 21-24 October 2021 in Mumbai and Goa. The UK’s First Sea Lord/Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Sir Tony Radakin visited India from 22-24 October 2021 in connection with the UK’s CSG Port Call.

31. India-UK Defence Equipment Sub-Group (DESG) meeting for the year 2021 was held in a virtual mode on 29 July 2021.  The 11th India-UK Executive Steering Group (ESG), i.e. Army-to-Army Staff Talks, were held virtually on 10 March 2021.

Education

32. Following the announcement made by Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi during his visit in November 2015, the year 2016 was celebrated as the Year of Education, Science & Innovation, giving an impetus to co-operation in this sector. Education cooperation is an important pillar of India-UK Bilateral relationship as envisaged under India-UK Roadmap 2030, which was released in May 2021 during Prime Ministerial level virtual Summit.

33. Since 2015-16, number of first year enrolment of Indian students in the UK Universities have been increasing. Year wise enrolment of Indian students is 14,830 (2015-16), 16,550 (2016-17), 19750 (2017-18), 26,685 (2018-19), 41,815 (2019-20), 52,015 (2020-21). This number is expected to be much higher in this academic year (2021-22).

Health

34. India-UK bilateral cooperation in mitigating the effects of COVID-19 Pandemic has been significant. The joint research and development of the COVID-19 vaccine, under a licensing agreement between UK-based AstraZeneca and Serum Institute of India, is an unprecedented example of India-UK cooperation in addressing global issues of concern and is bound to lay a solid foundation for our close bilateral partnership across varied sectors.

35. India-UK Healthcare Conference is being organised in the UK, in association with the High Commission of India, London, since 2019 on an annual basis, the last of which was held in Birmingham from 20-21 September 2021.

Ayurveda

36. Under the MoU signed in April 2018 during the visit of Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi to UK, the provision to establish a Centre of Excellence on Ayurveda was explored. Government of India sanctioned an amount of £110,000 to the Prince’s Foundation for developing of AYUSH Centre at St. Charles Hospital, London, in association with College of Medicine, UK. College of Medicine launched an online program ‘AYURYOGA’ on 1 November 2020 (ayuryoga-programmes.co.uk). The first phase of AYURYOGA project has now been completed.

People-to-people exchanges

37. India and UK signed the Migration and Mobility Partnership (MMP) Agreement on 4 May 2021 with the intention to address swifter movement of working professionals between the two countries - an important element of India-UK economic partnership.

Indian Diaspora in UK

38. The Indian Diaspora in UK is the largest ethnic minority community in the country, including approximately 1.6 million British nationals of Indian origin and about 3,00,000 NRIs living in the UK equating to almost 2 percent of the UK population and contributing 6% of the country’s GDP. 

39. At present there are sixteen Indian origin MPs in the UK Parliament and, out of these, four of them hold key Ministerial posts in the Government.

(21 April 2022)


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