The visit of Boris Johnson to India next month will be his first major bilateral post since he took office.
India’s “very generous” invitation to be the Republic Day chief guest at next month’s celebrations in Delhi was accepted by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the UK Foreign Secretary said today, calling it a great honor” This will be the first major bilateral visit” by Boris Johnson since he took charge last year, his office noted.
“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,” the British PM said in a statement.
After John Major in 1993, he was only the second British leader since Indian independence to attend the Republic Day parade in Delhi as a guest of honor.
Foreign Minister S Jaishankar said his participation “would be in a way symbolic of a new era, and a new phase of India-UK ties” at the annual celebrations.
PM Modi was also invited by Boris Johnson to attend next year’s G7 summit in Britain, UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said. India will be one of the three guest countries. This morning, Mr. Raab arrived in Delhi for a four-day visit to India and was received by the Foreign Minister.
“I’m pleased that PM Boris Johnson has invited PM Modi to join the UK-hosted G7 summit next year The British PM has also accepted the very generous invitation to attend India’s Republic Day celebrations in January, which is a great honor,” he said this afternoon.
“The UK Foreign Secretary comes at a very important time because we are looking at a post-COVID world and also looking at a post-Brexit world from the perspective of the UK. This is the right time for us to hold discussions,” S Jaishankar said on the visit of Dominic Raab.
The British Prime Minister “will use his visit to India to boost cooperation in areas that matter to the UK and that will be priorities for our international engagement throughout 2021 – from trade and investment to defense and security, and health and climate change,” his office said.
“The UK and India are significant investors and markets for each other’s economies and our growing trade and investment relationship is worth around 24 billion pounds a year, supporting more than half a million jobs There are 842 Indian companies in the UK with a combined turnover of 41.2 billion pounds, creating jobs in all four corners of the United Kingdom,” he added.
Boris Johnson, naming India “an increasingly indispensable partner for the United Kingdom” described the nation as “pharmacy of the world” in remarks that take on significance at a time when the war against coronavirus is raging.
“As the ‘pharmacy of the world’ India supplies more than 50 percent of the world’s vaccines, with over a billion doses of the UK’s Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine being manufactured at India’s Serum Institute in Pune,” he said.
Earlier this month, the UK cleared Pfizer’s vaccine. Three vaccine producers in India, including the US company Pfizer, recently approached the DCGI drug controller for emergency clearance.