‘Historic’ G20 visit by Rishi Sunak to India

According to No. 10, Rishi Sunak’s trip to India for the G20 summit represents a “historic moment” for the UK and Commonwealth countries.

The first British prime minister of Indian descent’s appearance in New Delhi on Friday, according to Downing Street, will serve as a potent reminder of the ongoing relationship between our two countries.

Officials don’t completely rule out the possibility that Mr. Sunak and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi may discuss the status of the UK-India free trade agreement (FTA) during their bilateral meetings. Mr. Sunak will be travelling with his wife, Akshata Murty.

According to UK Government statistics, London and New Delhi had a £36 billion business relationship in 2022–2023; however, Mr. Sunak is rumoured to be eager to seal an economic-boostering post-Brexit trade agreement with the nation with a population of 1.4 billion.

His visit will mark history as the first British Prime Minister of Indian heritage and serve as a potent reminder of the ongoing relationship between our two nations.

It has been rumoured that India’s demand for more visas to be given so that its citizens can work in Britain is one of the barriers to a trade agreement, with former Tory prime minister Boris Johnson originally setting an October 2022 completion date.

With no deadline established by Mr. Sunak for approving new trade terms, Downing Street asserted that the UK would not budge on its stance on immigration in order to achieve a free trade agreement.

The official spokeswoman for the prime minister stated this about the trade agreement before the trip: “This trade pact is focused on commerce and business. Immigration is a distinct problem.

“The sole feature of the movement of persons addressed by an FTA is business mobility, which is the temporary movement of businesspeople for particular purposes.

According to the spokeswoman, “There are no proposals to change our immigration policy in order to achieve an FTA. “I am unable to elaborate further on what has been discussed.”

The G20, according to the official, would focus more on other geopolitical matters and was “not designed as a moment for the FTA specifically.”

Following the 2008 global financial crisis, leaders of the G20, which also includes the European Union and countries like China, the US, Brazil, and Russia, started convening summits, providing a high-level forum to debate global issues.

Mr. Sunak has vowed to challenge Russia on its invasion of Ukraine while at the Indian summit, despite the fact that the host nation has maintained good relations with Moscow since February of last year, when the dispute first started.

Sergei Lavrov, the foreign minister of Russia, is anticipated to attend the meeting in New Delhi despite Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to abstain.

There is “no set moment” for the British leader and Mr. Lavrov to meet, according to Mr. Sunak’s official spokeswoman.

However, he asserted that the Prime Minister will “take every session to remind Lavrov to his face of the enormous harm their illegal conflict has caused both in Ukraine and globally.”

No. 10 said that London will hold a summit on global food security in November in reaction to Mr. Putin’s collapse of the Black Sea Grain Initiative, which allowed ships carrying grain to leave southern Ukrainian ports without fear of attack.

The military and security agencies of Britain will also keep an eye on the Black Sea in an effort to discourage Russia from attacking cargo ships carrying grain from the Ukraine to underdeveloped nations.

Mr. Sunak is set to speak at the main conference during the three-day tour about international efforts to combat climate change and assist the global economy, as well as focusing on problems like migration and the conflict in Ukraine.

“Building a strong global economy is at the core of the Prime Minister’s priorities. We cannot reduce inflation, create jobs, and expand our own economy without working closely with other major economies,” the Prime Minister’s spokesman stated.

Therefore, the Prime Minister will use this G20 conference to spearhead a worldwide dialogue on lowering inflation, boosting economic security, and utilising emerging technology.

Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, is one of the international leaders he intends to meet with outside of the summit after reaching an agreement for the UK to rejoin the EU’s Horizon scientific research initiative.

Mr. Sunak, a practicing Hindu, will tour significant Indian cultural and religious landmarks as part of his itinerary, and a visit to a Hindu temple is also scheduled for his visit.

David Lammy, the shadow foreign secretary for Labour, predicted that Mr. Sunak would enter the G20 “as a minnow on the world stage.”

He said: “He doesn’t have the UK-India trade agreement that the Tories indicated would be finalised by October when he arrives in Delhi.

“Sunak is haphazardly backtracking on his government’s prior climate commitments.

And unlike a disproportionate number of other foreign leaders, he isn’t even going to the UN General Assembly later this month.

The G20 meeting cannot be used as a platform for nothing but Instagram and social media updates.

“Britain needs a prime minister who will use the G20 to restore our credibility with important allies in the US and EU while establishing new alliances on trade, climate change, and essential minerals with emerging powers.”

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