Covid scare forces Boris Johnson to cancel India visit once again

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on April 19, 2021

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson   -  DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS

Plans afoot to give trade ties a boost via virtual meeting

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson will not visit India next week due to the worsening of the Covid-19 situation. The two nations will instead hold a virtual meeting online, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has said. The dates for the virtual meeting, however, are yet to be finalised.

“In view of the prevailing Covid-19 situation, it has been decided by mutual agreement that the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom will not visit India next week. The two sides will be holding a virtual meeting in the coming days to launch plans for a transformed India-UK relationship,” the MEA spokesperson said in a statement responding to media queries on the visit.

‘In-person meeting’

“Both leaders attach the highest importance to taking the India-UK partnership to its fullest potential and propose to remain in close touch in this regard and look forward to an in-person meeting later in the year, ” the spokesperson said.

The two sides hope to launch the India-UK Enhanced Trade Partnership (ETP), which could lead to a potential comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the two countries, at the meet.

Commerce & Industry Minister Piyush Goyal and his UK counterpart Elizabeth Truss, at their bilateral meeting in New Delhi earlier this year, committed themselves to make concrete progress on the trade and investment front to deliver quick gains for both countries and also set joint timelines for further advances. The British Prime Minister’s planned visit to India to attend the Republic Day celebrations in January also had to be put off due to the pandemic.

Published on April 19, 2021

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