New Delhi: In a major push to bilateral ties between India and the United Kingdom, the two foreign ministers held the inaugural Maritime Dialogue in a virtual format on Monday, October 18.
The virtual deliberations between External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar and his British counterpart Liz Truss were held as part of the broad agreement drawn in the India-UK Roadmap 2030 for future relations. The India-UK Roadmap was adopted at the Virtual Summit between the two Prime Ministers, Narendra Modi and Boris Johnson, in May 2021.
"The consultations, which were led by the two Foreign Ministries, involved exchanges on cooperation in the maritime domain, Indo-Pacific and regional and multilateral cooperation," an MEA source said.
In a joint statement issued after talks between two Prime Ministers, Mr Modi and Mr Boris Johnson, in May, the two sides had affirmed their shared vision of an open, free, inclusive and rules-based Indo-Pacific region, underpinned by respect for territorial integrity and sovereignty, the rule of law, transparency, freedom of navigation and overflight in the international seas. It also pledged lawful commerce and peaceful resolution of disputes.
Notably, the inaugural Maritime Dialogue has taken place close on the heels of the vaccine-travel row that has been settled between two countries. The UK's move not to recognise India's vaccination sometime back was not only discriminatory, but to many, it also reflected a virtual superiority complex and "colonialist mindset." External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar had met British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss in New York. The vaccine-travel row has been settled now.
Prime Minister Modi, on October 11, spoke on the telephone to his British counterpart, Mr Johnson and the two leaders reviewed the progress in bilateral relations. Both the leaders had "expressed satisfaction" at the steps already initiated under the Roadmap 2030.
Both the Prime Ministers also reviewed the progress of the Enhanced Trade Partnership and agreed on the potential of rapidly expanding trade and investment linkages between both countries.