HomeCurrent affairsOptimism Abounds as India and UK Approach 12th Round of Free Trade...

Optimism Abounds as India and UK Approach 12th Round of Free Trade Agreement Talks

The Indian High Commissioner to the UK is optimistic that representatives from both sides will be able to “get something working” and find a “right fit” towards a compromise that will be advantageous to both parties before the start of the 12th round of India-UK free trade agreement (FTA) negotiations in New Delhi on Wednesday. Vikram Doraiswami, the high commissioner, told PTI that he is optimistic since both nations appear eager to make the required reforms while also acknowledging the difficulties posed by the two economies’ extremely dissimilar structural arrangements. 

He expressed similar optimism regarding an “obvious synergy” across several sectors in the context of the larger bilateral engagement.

The High Commissioner said that he is confident about FTA. His goal is for us to get a forward-looking FTA that is mutually beneficial to both parties, to the extent that is possible.

He thinks both parties are eager to make the required changes. Even while our economies are similar in size, they differ in their organisational systems and levels of complexity. Therefore, finding the appropriate fit is crucial.

The senior diplomat directly involved in the FTA negotiations, which got underway in January of last year, said it’s critical that the UK side understand some of the intricacies of the Indian economy’s structure.

He said that it cannot be equivalent to a free trade deal with a comparable industrialised nation. On the other hand, we must also consider the fact that, although a member of the European Union, the UK didn’t negotiate many free trade deals in recent years. Therefore, those items require adjustments to be made. However, the trend line appears to be extremely encouraging overall.

The eleventh round of negotiations came to an end on July 18, and according to a joint statement on the results, it encompassed extensive discussions about the draught treaty text in nine different subject areas. In 2022, experts estimated the bilateral trade partnership’s value at around GBP 36 billion, and analysts expect an FTA to significantly enhance that relationship.

Doraiswami stated, “I think our government has been very clear that we want the best partnership possible with the UK and, from what I hear from the UK leadership on both sides of the political aisle as well as from the senior leadership of the government here, that they too want a forward-looking partnership with us.

According to India’s Commerce Secretary Sunil Barthwal, the 11th round of negotiations in London was marked by a “very intense” atmosphere, and the negotiating teams successfully addressed several concerns.

The negotiating teams have completed 19 out of the 26 proposed chapters of the FTA. Investment is the subject of separate negotiations between India and the UK (a bilateral investment treaty).

So, on Monday, Barthwal informed reporters in New Delhi that only a few issues remain at present. They are aiming to resolve the outstanding concerns when the UK team visits India for the Trade and Investment Working Group meeting (in Jaipur). Therefore, our goal is to resolve the concerns with the UK when the UK team comes to see us in India. They have a great deal of faith that it will happen.

Noting the complicated nature of India-UK history, High Commissioner Doraiswami emphasised the significance of the two countries continued cooperation after 76 years of independence from colonial rule, emphasising the need to learn from the past without “ourselves to become prisoners of it”.

“It’s important that we build a relationship that touches upon our respective strengths.” he remarked. For instance, London continues to be one of the major financial centres of the globe. The future of global growth lies in India. The requirement for high-quality, reasonably cost financing for our infrastructure expansion and green transitions go hand in hand. Additionally, identifying the locations where investing will yield the best returns necessitates high-quality financing. Both of these require high-quality financing to locate the locations where investing will yield the best returns. These two speak for themselves. 

When questioned about UK Security Minister Tom Tugendhat’s recent trip to India, where he announced a GBP 95,000 fund to combat pro-Khalistan extremism following an attack on the High Commission in London in March, the High Commissioner said it represented a turning point in strengthening the security pillar of the two countries relationship.

“We live in an uncertain and often challenging world, increasingly so… It makes absolute sense for countries like the UK and India to work much more closely together to recognise that there are more complex challenges than the simple ones that people talk about. It’s not just nation-states alone.” he stated. There are issues with what is happening within communities, how communities are becoming more radicalised, and how it is transforming domestic politics.

“In all of this, it is crucial that nations like the UK collaborate with us because we also comprehend how some of this occurs. Therefore, the visit of Security Minister Tugendhat last week represents a crucial turning point, and he believes he would have left with a clear understanding of how eager we are to integrate a proper, functional security pillar into our alliance.

The envoy emphasised that “it is really now time that we got more British businesses into India as well” when discussing the relationship’s commercial facets. The envoy noted how Indian companies have established a sizable foothold in the UK market.

Latest news

Related news