Dominic Raab, Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, United Kingdom (UK) paid an 4-day visit to India from December 14-17, 2020.
i.The meeting assumes significance as the UK is keen to promote its ties with India in Post-Brexit era.
ii.On 17th December, 2020 Dominic Raab visited Bengaluru to meet the Chief Minister of Karnataka, B. S. Yediyurappa. They signed multiple Memorandum of Understandings (MoUs) with the state.
iii.Raab also met with Prakash Javadekar, Union Minister of Environment, Forests & Climate Change (MoEFCC) & Ramesh Pokhriyal, Union Minister of Education.
India-UK Ministerial Dialogue meeting 2020 held in New Delhi
Dominic Raab and EAM Jaishankar participated in the India-UK Ministerial Dialogue meeting 2020 in New Delhi.
i.The meeting between 2 sides focused on Trade and Investments, Defence & Security, Health, Education, Research & Innovation, Energy and Climate Change.
ii.The two sides also agreed to finalize the completion of 360 Degree roadmap for upgrading of India-UK partnership to the next level.
iii.The roadmap will be adopted during Boris Johnson, Prime Minister of the UK’s visit to India in January, 2021. Boris Johnson will be the Chief Guest of India’s 2021 Republic Day Celebrations.
India, UK to focus on 5 themes for 10-year roadmap in Strategic Partnership:
Both Countries emphasized on 5 themes in a 10-year roadmap(UK-India 2030) to deepen the ties between the two countries, and boost strategic cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region.
i.The 5 key themes are – connecting people, trade & prosperity, defence & security, climate change, and health.
ii.Jaishankar & Raab discussed the possibilities of an ‘Enhanced Trade Partnership’ by 2021 which would be the initial stage for a future free trade agreement.
iii.India will be a key pillar of the UK’s Look East Policy in the Post-Brexit period.
Highlights of the Meeting:
i.Both countries agreed to fast track discussions on trade deals and conclude the comprehensive migration and mobility partnership agreement. The agreement will help in fast movement of students and professionals between two countries.
ii.They discussed ways to strengthen cooperation in Indo-Pacific region, countering terrorism, radical extremism and challenges in the cyber, maritime and space domains.
iii.Both Countries reaffirmed their commitment to a multi-polar world and faith in multilateralism.
Karnataka & British Council sign MoU:
Karnataka State Higher Education Council (KSHEC) & British Council signed an 1st-its-kind, 3-years MoU to increase bilateral cooperation in higher education sector.
i.To aid mobility of students & faculty exchange across Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in Karnataka and UK.
ii.To enhance research & support internationalisation of HEIs.
i.KSHEC & British Council will take initiatives to strengthen Karnataka’s higher education structure through initiatives like leadership programmes for faculty and research partnerships between Karnataka & UK.
ii.British Council will host programmes to increase English Proficiency among the students to enable them to access greater employment opportunities.
The MoU assumes significance as the UK is an important region for the Higher Education Sector for students from India.
MoUs & Partnerships:
CDC Group, NIIF & Green Growth Equity Fund sign agreement:
i.UK’s CDC Group, India’s National Investment & Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) & Green Growth Equity Fund (GGEF-Joint UK-India Fund) announced an 290 Million Pound (USD 386 Million) investment to boost green energy transition.
ii.UK & India will jointly invest 1.5 Million Pounds into the NEEV fund to support green recovery.
i.NEEV Fund was launched in 2015 by Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India & David Cameron, the then Prime Minister of UK.
ii.The main objective of the fund is to make investment in 8 low income states of India i.e Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Chattisgarh, Jharkhand, Odisha & West Bengal.
iii.The fund will be utilized to create sustainable development – economic, social & environmental benefits and create jobs in the target states.
Virtual Vaccine Hub:
i.New Virtual UK-India vaccines hub announced by both countries to help in the shared fight against Coronavirus.
ii.The vaccines hub will be used to deliver vaccines for Coronavirus and other deadly viruses.
iii.The vaccines hub will be used for sharing best practices for regulation and clinical trials & to improve innovation.
He highlighted the partnership between India’s Serum Institute & UK’s Oxford University to develop the ‘AstraZeneca’ vaccine to tackle Coronavirus.
CDSCO, UK MHRA sign MoU:
i.An MoU was signed between India’s Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) & UK Medicines & Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (UK MHRA) for frequent discussion on UK-India vaccine and pharmaceutical regulations, improving standards.
ii.As part of the MoU, they will share information for the control of trade of unlicensed products.
New partnership to unlock power of Data:
i.The 2 sides announced a new partnership to unlock the power of data which includes – data within our genes, to deliver better diagnostics & enhanced life-saving treatments for cancer, diabetes, maternal health challenges & rare diseases.
Meeting with PM Narendra Modi:
Dominic Raab met Indian PM Narendra Modi and discussed issues regarding Tackling of Coronavirus.
Discussed our joint vision, a 10-year roadmap to create jobs for Britons and Indians, defend our security and work together as a force for good in the Indo-Pacific.
Meeting with Union Education Minister, Ramesh ‘Nishank’ Pokhriyal:
i.Dominic Raab & Union Education Minister, Ramesh Pokhriyal agreed to work closely towards mutual recognition of academic qualifications.
ii.The process will begin with the recognition of Master’s degrees from 2021.
India, UK talk free trade ahead of Boris Johnson’s visit:
India & UK discussed the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the two countries. The FTA will be essential in increasing the bilateral trade between the two countries.
PM Modi accepts Boris Johnson’s invite to be part of G7meeting:
PM Narendra Modi accepted the invitation of UK PM Boris Johnson to be part of the G7 meeting chaired by the UK in 2021.
Bilateral Trade between UK & India:
i.The Bilateral Trade between the two countries reached USD 15.48 Billion in the Financial Year (FY) 2019-20. The trade was in favour of India during the FY 2019-20.
ii.UK was India’s 16th Largest Trading partnership in the year 2018-19.
iii.India was the 2nd largest source of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the UK after the United States (US) in 2019.
About NEEV Fund:
Chief Investment Officer – Manav Bansal
Headquarters – Mumbai, Maharashtra
About United Kingdom (UK):
Currency– Pound sterling
Prime Minister– Boris Johnson