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UK PM Boris Johnson will be chief guest at India’s Republic Day celebrations

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UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson will be the chief guest at the Republic Day celebrations in New Delhi next month. Notably, Johnson has accepted India’s invite and termed it as a “great honour”. Notably, the scheduled visit in January next year will be the UK prime minister’s first bilateral visit to India since he assumed office in 2019.

In an official statement, Johnson said, “I am absolutely delighted to be visiting India next year at the start of an exciting year for Global Britain, and look forward to delivering the quantum leap in our bilateral relationship that Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi and I have pledged to achieve.”

UK foreign secretary Dominic Raab has also confirmed the development on Tuesday during his three-day visit to India. He said, “I am pleased that PM Boris Johnson has invited PM Modi to join the UK-hosted G7 summit next year. PM Johnson has also accepted the very generous invitation to attend India’s Republic Day celebrations in January, which is a great honour.”

Greater cooperation in bilateral trade

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Tuesday held talks with the British Foreign Secretary to expand cooperation in a range of sectors such as trade, defence, education, environment and health.

Raab’s three-day visit to India from December 14-17 comes at a time the UK is holding complex negotiations with the European Union on reaching a post-Brexit trade deal.

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On Monday, the Ministry of External Affairs said Raab’s visit will pave the way for further strengthening of the partnership across the trade, defence, climate, migration and mobility, education and health sectors in the post-COVID, post-Brexit context.

Post-Brexit trade deal

Negotiators from the UK and the European Union are running against time to strike a post-Brexit trade deal. Notably, the UK had exited the European Union in January and both the parties had decided to follow the uniform norms toll December 31 so that fresh trading norms can be developed during the transition period. However, both parties have failed to come to an agreement so far and a trade deal by the end of the year seems elusive.

 

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