PM Modi speaks to UK counterpart Rishi Sunak, agrees on need for ‘balanced’ trade agreement

Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to his British counterpart Rishi Sunak on Thursday, where the two leaders agreed on the importance of a “comprehensive and balanced” free trade agreement (FTA) between the two countries.

In the first conversation between the leaders since Sunak took charge as Prime Minister on Tuesday, the latter said he is excited about “what our two great democracies can achieve” in terms of their security, defence and economic partnership.

Meanwhile, Sunak’s office described himself as a “visual representation” of historic links between Britain and India, during the call.

In January, India and Britain had commenced negotiations for a FTA with a deadline the conclude by Diwali. However, the deadline was missed due a lack of consensus on issues. The pact aims to double bilateral trade to $100 billion by 2030. Britain had completed the majority of sections of the agreement but would only sign off on the deal once happy that it is fair and reciprocal, trade department minister Greg Hands had said on Wednesday.

As the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Sunak had expressed support for the FTA, which he said presented enormous opportunities for the fintech and insurance sectors.

With inputs from agencies

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