New Delhi: The visiting British Foreign Secretary Elizabeth Truss held wide-ranging bilateral talks with her Indian counterpart, Dr S Jaishankar, on Friday (October 22), and both sides underlined the need for launching Free Trade Agreement negotiations at the earliest.
Both the Ministers welcomed the progress in delivering the Enhanced Trade Partnership announced at the Virtual Summit between Prime Ministers Narendra Modi and Boris Johnson, an MEA statement said.
Ms Truss also held meetings with Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav.
Ahead of her India visit, Ms Truss said, "I want the UK and India to step up their partnership in critical areas like technology, investment, security and defence. India is the world's largest democracy, a tech and economic powerhouse and a vital strategic partner for the UK."
She also tweeted, "In Delhi on my first visit as Foreign Secretary. I'll be discussing how to boost our partnership with our great friends India and deliver for the British people in areas like tech and infrastructure investment; building back better after COVID; security and defence."
Both sides undertook a detailed review of the Roadmap 2030 launched during the India-UK Virtual Summit held on May 4.
"They appreciated the progress so far on the implementation of the Roadmap despite the constraints posed by the pandemic. There were detailed discussions focused on enhancing cooperation in the key priority areas of trade and investments, people-to-people relationship, health partnership, climate change, science & innovation and defence & security," the MEA said.
Both the Ministers welcomed the progress in delivering the Enhanced Trade Partnership announced at the Virtual Summit and underlined the need for launching FTA negotiations at the earliest.
Both the leaders also discussed the Migration and Mobility Partnership and the Global Innovation Partnership and committed to their early implementation. They also acknowledged the establishment of new dialogue mechanisms for discussing consular issues and maritime security.
"Both sides also agreed on instituting the India-UK Strategic Futures Forum Track, a new 1.5 Dialogue mechanism to foster expert deliberations on long-term strategic links between the two countries," the statement said.
Dr Jaishankar and Ms Truss also discussed several regional and international issues of mutual interest while sharing their commitment to a multi-polar world and multilateralism. They agreed to strengthen cooperation in West Asia and the Indo-Pacific to counter-terrorism and radical extremism and address emerging cyber and space challenges.
"On Afghanistan, the need for full, safe and unhindered access for humanitarian assistance was discussed," the statement said and also it was underlined that there is a need to ensure that the Afghan territory "is not used to threaten or attack any country or to shelter or train terrorists, or to plan or to finance terrorist attacks."
On Saturday, October 23, the visiting dignitary will be visiting Mumbai, where she will participate in business and defence engagements held in connection with the visit of Carrier Strike Group 21 (CSG21) to India.
She would also pay her respects at the memorial to honour the victims of the terrorist attack in Mumbai on November 26, 2008.