The Prime Minister of The United Kingdom (UK), Boris Johnson, was on an official visit to India (Delhi & Gujarat) on April 21-22, 2022 on the invitation of India PM Narendra Modi. This is his first visit to India as Prime Minister of UK.
He was received by the PM Narendra Modi with a ceremonial reception at Rashtrapati Bhawan in New Delhi (Delhi). He visited Raj Ghat to lay a wreath and pay tribute to Mahatma Gandhi.
- Bilateral consultations were held between both leaders.
- It should be noted that in the first leg of his two-day visit to India, he visited Gujarat. He is the first British PM to visit Gujarat. There he was welcomed by Gujarat Chief Minister (CM) Bhupendra Patel, and then met Gautam Adani, chairman of the Adani Group. He also visited the Gujarat Biotechnology University at GIFT City as well as Akshardham temple, among others.
During the Bilateral Consultations between the PMs of India and the UK, discussions were held on new areas of cooperation along on such as trade, commerce, defence and clean energy figured prominently in our discussions.Both sides also saw the signing of Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) which are as follows:
List of MoUs Exchanged:
Government to Government MoUs: 2
i.MoU on Implementation of Global Innovation Partnership
The MoU on Global Innovation Partnership (GIP) was signed between MEA, Government of India; and Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, UK.
- Under this, both sides agreed to co-finance upto £75 million as a GIP Fund to support the transfer and scale up of climate smart sustainable innovations to third countries.
- The GIP Fund also aim to raise additional £100 million from the market to support Indian innovations.
ii.MoU on Cooperation on Global Centre for Nuclear Energy Partnership
The MoU on Cooperation on Global Centre for Nuclear Energy Partnership (GCNEP) was signed between Department of Atomic Energy (DAE), Government of India; and Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, UK
- Under this MoU, both sides will jointly promote research and training on nuclear energy studies, radioactive applications, nuclear security, and safety.
- This will strengthen India-UK civil nuclear cooperation.
Non-Governmental MoUs: 4
i.MoU on establishment of short term Chair at Birmingham City University between Indian Council of Cultural relations (ICCR) and Birmingham City University
ii.Joint Declaration of Intent for cooperation in the field of Offshore Wind Development between NIWE an OREC
A Joint Declaration of Intent (JDI) for cooperation in the field of Offshore Wind Development was announced between the National Institute of Wind Energy (NIWE) under Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), Government of India; and the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult (OREC), UK.
- Under this, both sides will work together on innovation and development, market and supply chain growth, new technology test and demonstration, as well as skills programmes for offshore wind.
- Under this, one of the key initiatives will be a technical supply chain innovation analysis between the UK and India, supported by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) India.
iii.MoU on the creation of The Chevening/Adani Scholarships on Artificial Intelligence
This MoU was signed between the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office– British High Commission New Delhi; and the Adani Group, India for creation of The Chevening/Adani Scholarships on Artificial Intelligence.
- Under this, Adani Group will provide £200,000 every year through five scholarships for Indian graduate students for studying in a master’s degree in the UK.
iv.MoU on satellite launch programme between New Space India Limited (NSIL) and OneWeb
OneWeb, the low Earth orbit (LEO) satellite, a communications company has signed a MoU with New Space India Limited (NSIL), the commercial arm of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).
- It will help OneWeb completes its satellite launch programme.
- The first launch with NSIL under this MoU is anticipated in 2022 from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) SHAR, Sriharikota. The launches will add to OneWeb’s total in-orbit constellation of 428 satellites
i.Strategic Tech Dialogue – Ministerial-level dialogue on new and emerging communication technologies such as 5G, AI etc.
ii.Collaboration on Integrated Electric Propulsion – Co-development of technology between the two Navies.
iii.Union Minister Dr. Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) also called on the UK Prime Minister.
India-UK signed a new Defence Cooperation Agreement
India-UK signed a new defence cooperation agreement for closer security ties and easier procurement of weapons. Exact details of the security partnership were not immediately available.
- Notably, UK is creating an Open General Export Licence (OGEL) for India to reduce bureaucracy and delivery times for defence procurement.
Other discussions between Leaders regarding Defence:
- Both sides agreed on a new and expanded bilateral defence and security partnership by working together to meet new threats across land, sea, air space and cyber domains.
ii.UK will partner with India on new fighter jet technology as well as in the maritime sphere to detect and respond to threats in the oceans.
India and UK commit to Cyber Partnership for Vision 2030
India and the UK have reaffirmed their commitment to Cyber Security Partnership for vision 2030 for an open, accessible, secure and peaceful cyberspace in Indo-Pacific.
- In 2021, both leaders had agreed to an Enhanced Cyber Security Partnership with a focus on cyber governance, deterrence, resilience and capacity building.
- India and UK will work in collaboration with industry and multi-stakeholders to deliver shared responsibilities intended to improve online safety and protect users online.
- With the onset of 5G and 6G technologies, both nations have put a special focus on ensuring the protection of user privacy and their cooperation with the relevant government entities. India and the UK will continue to collaborate with digital service providers, social media and telecommunications companies for the same, encouraging cooperation to embed safety in the services they offer.
UK and India aim for free trade agreement by October 2022
Both sides agreed to complete the free trade agreement (FTA) by the end of the year i.e. by October 2022. It will boost annual bilateral trade immensely.
- Under FTA, UK is ready to offer more visas to India.
- This will also reduce reliance on foreign oil and gas amid Russia-Ukraine conflict.
British PM launches JCB India’s new £100mn factory for exports at Vadodara
JCB India’s new £100 million (over Rs 990cr) factory for exports was inaugurated in Vadodara, Gujarat by the Gujarat CM Bhupendra Patel and British PM Boris Johnson in the presence of the Chairman of J C Bamford Excavators, Lord Bamford.
- It will be JCB’s 6th factory in India and will generate jobs for 1,200 people directly and thousands more through its supply chain units. About 50% of the staff will be women.
- The factory will fabricate parts for global production lines.
i.With the Gujarat factory, the total investment made by JCB in India is estimated at more than £1 billion.
ii.The 47-acre Vadodara factory is expected to start full production in October 2022.
iii.It will be capable of processing 85,000 tonnes of steel annually.
Note- JCB first began manufacturing in India in 1979 and is now the country’s leading producer of construction equipment.
Switch Mobility lines up £300-million Electric Vehicle Investment
Switch Mobility, the electric vehicle arm of Ashok Leyland, has committed £300 million investment in zero carbon public and commercial transportation in India and UK. It will develop its range of electric buses and light commercial vehicles.
- The venue is expected to open in June 2022 and will work closely with Switch’s existing R&D offices in Chennai, Leeds and Valladolid employing a further 200 engineers.
i.This will create over 4,000 skilled jobs in the UK and India
ii.As part of the company’s investment, Switch will set up new Technical Centre in Warwick, UK which will be the focal point of its Global Research and Development team.
iii.Switch Mobility also launched its 12 metre electric bus.
iv.The UK and Indian businesses confirmed more than £1 billion in new investments.
PM Narendra Modi invited PM Boris Johnson to India in 2023 for G20 (Group of Twenty) Summit under India’s Presidency.
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