14.2 C
New Delhi
Monday 20 January 2020

Johnson pledges ‘new and improved’ trade ties with India

Johnson issued his own letter to highlight his "personal relationship with PM Modi & promised to deliver a truly special UK-India relationship

London: Boris Johnson, the former foreign secretary seen as the frontrunner in the race to replace Theresa May as British Prime Minister, on Monday pledged a “new and improved” trading relationship with India if he is elected.

Days after his rival Jeremy Hunt reached out to the Indian diaspora membership of the Conservative Party for votes in the ongoing Tory leadership contest, Johnson issued his own letter to highlight his “personal relationship with Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi” and promised to deliver a truly special UK-India relationship.

“When I was with Prime Minister Modi I stressed that the UK and India are two modern democracies who should work closely together to promote trade and prosperity, improve global security and tackle the challenges our countries face, Johnson writes in an open letter addressed to the Indian diaspora Tory membership base.

“If I am elected Conservative Party Leader and Prime Minister, I will work closely with our friends in the Indian Government, business and society to deliver a truly special UK-India relationship,” Johnson said.

In keeping with his firm pro-Brexit stance and determination to leave the European Union (EU) by the October 31 deadline, the 55-year-old senior Tory MP branded it a “travesty” that the 28-member economic bloc had failed to treat free trade agreement talks with India as a priority for over a decade.

He notes: “One of the most important reasons why we need to leave the European Union on 31 October 2019 is so that we can take back control over our trade policy. India is an economic powerhouse and set to become the third largest economy by the middle of the century, with annual economic growth far outpacing the EU.

“The sooner we leave the EU and take back control of our trade policy, the sooner we can strike a new trade deal with India that will deliver new jobs, growth and prosperity for both our countries. Securing this new and improved trading relationship with our friends in India will be a priority for me.”

The former Mayor of London, who has in the past described himself as a “son-in-law of India” by virtue of his now-estranged wife Marina Wheeler’s Indian mother, stressed that the UK’s relationship with India must run deeper than just trade.

“We share so many values with India the rule of law, democracy, and dynamic entrepreneurial spirit and I believe that is why India should be one of our most important partners on the global stage,” he added.

He also plugged his proposals for a so-called “Australian-style points-based system” of immigration, which would ensure friends, family members and business contacts in India do not face undue discrimination or barriers when seeking to work, travel or study in the UK.

Johnson’s latest intervention was welcomed as a “fantastic commitment by Priti Patel, one of the senior-most Indian-origin Tory MPs who are part of the “Back Boris” leadership campaign.

“Boris Johnson is the only candidate with a strong record of support, appreciation and understanding of UK-India relations and the Indian diaspora. Great days ahead for UK-India relations,” she said in a Twitter statement.

Johnson is going head to head with UK foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt, who had issued a similar letter of commitment to UK-India relations and an FTA with India if he is elected as the new British Prime Minister.

The process of issuing postal ballots to the over 160,000 Tory party membership across the UK is set to be completed on Monday, with polls set to close by 5 pm on 22 July after which the counting process will begin for the result to be declared on 23 July. The new Prime Minister-elect is expected to take charge at Downing Street after a formal handover process between May and the new incumbent.

May had formally resigned in early June and has been functioning as a caretaker Prime Minister until a new leader is elected.

Stay on top - Get daily news in your email inbox

Sirf Views

Pandits: 30 Years Since Being Ripped Apart

Pandits say, and rightly so, that their return to Kashmir cannot be pushed without ensuring a homeland for the Islam-ravaged community for conservation of their culture

Fear-Mongering In The Times Of CAA

No one lived in this country with so much fear before,” asserted a friend while dealing with India's newly amended citizenship...

CAA: Never Let A Good Crisis Go To Waste

So said Winston Churchill, a lesson for sure for Prime Miniter Narendra Modi who will use the opposition's calumny over CAA to his advantage

Archbishop Of Bangalore Spreading Canards About CAA

The letter of Archbishop Peter Machado to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, published in The Indian Express, is ridden with factual inaccuracies

Sabarimala: Why Even 7 Judges Weren’t Deemed Enough

For an answer, the reader will have to go through a history of cases similar to the Sabarimala dispute heard in the Supreme Court

Related Stories

Leave a Reply

For fearless journalism

%d bloggers like this: