Team Blitz India
NEW DELHI: External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar is hopeful of finding a “landing point” in the free trade agreement (FTA) negotiations that works for both India and the UK.
Addressing a special Diwali reception organised by the Indian High Commission, in London, he described the India-UK bilateral relationship as a “positive force” for the world.
Jaishankar was joined at the event by UK Foreign Office Minister Lord Tariq Ahmad and Indian High Commissioner to the UK Vikram Doraiswami.
India and the UK have been holding talks on free trade agreement since January last year. Thirteen rounds of negotiations have taken with officials hopeful of clinching a deal ahead of general elections in both countries scheduled for 2024. Jaishankar was in London on a five-day official visit to the UK with an aim to review various aspects of bilateral ties.
He began his address by thanking British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak for taking the time to host him at 10 Downing Street on a busy Diwali day.
During his stay, he met the newly appointed Foreign Secretary David Cameron. “It was extremely satisfying to hear from him about the commitment and support for the relationship,” Jaishankar said.
He also met Cameron’s predecessor, new UK Home Secretary James Cleverly, whom he described as a “pillar of strength” for the bilateral relationship.
Among the other leaders Jaishankar met included the UK Defence Secretary Grants Shapps, NSA Tim Barrow and Shadow Foreign Secretary David Lammy.