New Delhi: On the backdrop of efforts made by western players to push India to take a tougher stance against Russia, visiting UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Thursday, April 21, said the world understands the “different relationship” between New Delhi and Moscow.
“Actually, if you look at what the Indians have said, they were very strong in their condemnation of the atrocities in Bucha,” said Johnson in PM Narendra Modi’s native state of Gujarat.
“As I think everybody understands, India and Russia have historically very different a relationship, perhaps, than Russia and the UK have had over the last couple of decades. We have to reflect that reality…..But clearly, I will be talking about it to Narendra Modi,” the British Prime Minister said.
“India and the UK both share anxieties about autocracies around the world, we are both democracies, and we want to stick together,” he emphasized.
Mr Johnson also said the two countries are “hoping to complete another free trade agreement” with India by the end of the year or by the autumn. Johnson and PM Modi will hold bilateral talks in New Delhi on Friday (April 22).
“There’s also the opportunity for us to deepen our security and defence partnership,” the British PM said.
“The UK is making an Indo-Pacific tilt in our integrated review of our national defence and security strategy,” he maintained.
Western media reports quoting the British Prime Minister claimed that he was “ready to offer more visas to India” in return for this year clinching a free-trade deal.
Speaking on the flight to Gujarat, he told journalists – “I have always been in favour of talented people coming to this country (Britain)….We are short to the tune of hundreds of thousands of people in our economy, and we need to have a progressive approach, and we will.”
Britain has made getting a trade deal with India one of its post-Brexit priorities as ministers, free from the European Union’s common trade policy, look to gear policy towards faster-growing economies around the Indo-Pacific region.
India also wants greater opportunities for Indians to live and work in Britain.
Britain hopes that India can become a customer of its green technology and that service trade can also be strengthened.