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Boris Johnson India visit: UK PM to announce raft of commercial pacts

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will announce a raft of commercial agreements and hail a “new era” in bilateral trade and investment ties during his visit to India, the UK High Commission said on Thursday. It said the UK and Indian businesses will confirm more than 1 billion pounds (1 GBP= Rs 99.63) in new investments and export deals on Tuesday in areas ranging from software engineering to health, creating almost 11,000 jobs across the UK.

Johnson begins his two-day visit to India on Thursday to further expand ties between the two countries and exchange views on pressing global challenges, including the crisis in Ukraine and the situation in the Indo-Pacific. “As I arrive in India today, I see vast possibilities for what our two great nations can achieve together. From next-generation 5G telecoms and AI to new partnerships in health research and renewable energy — the UK and India are leading the world,” Johnson was quoted as saying by the high commission.

“Our powerhouse partnership is delivering jobs, growth and opportunities for our people, and it will only go from strength to strength in the coming years,” he said. Johnson will hold talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi on Friday after concluding his engagements in Gujarat on Thursday.The British prime minister will visit a new factory being opened by a top British firm in Gujarat, as well as a biotechnology university working in collaboration with the University of Edinburgh.

In a statement, the high commission said Johnson will use his visit to India to “boost our collaboration with one of the world’s fastest-growing economies, slashing trade barriers for UK businesses and driving jobs and growth at home”. It said the UK will confirm major new science and tech collaboration, including a digital health partnership and a joint investment fund for Indian deep-tech and AI start-ups, supported by the UK and the Indian governments.

“As he moves on to New Delhi on Friday, the prime minister will also use this week’s visit to drive progress in negotiations on the landmark UK-India free trade agreement, which is expected to help double our trade and investment by 2030,” the high commission said.”Negotiating teams will hold their third round of formal talks in India next week,” it said.

The high commission said work is already progressing on cutting red tape for businesses following the UK-India Enhanced Trade Partnership launched by both the prime ministers last year.”And today, our governments will announce new measures to make it easier to export UK-made medical devices to India. This will support UK jobs and create opportunities for British med-tech companies like Redcar-based Micropore Technologies to sell their lifesaving products in India, an import market worth 2.4 billion pound,” it said.

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