On April 18, 2018 Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived in London, United Kingdom (UK) for a four-day official visit, during which, he held bilateral meeting with UK Prime Minister Theresa May and attended Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in London on April 19, 2018.
- PM Modi’s visit to UK focused on the India-UK technological partnership and an enhanced role in the Commonwealth.
- In context of this news, it is important to note that India-UK bilateral trade stands at USD 13 billion and UK is among the largest G20 investors into India.
- CHOGM is generally held at an interval of two years. Indian Prime Minister’s attendance at this meeting comes after a gap of 9 years. The last CHOGM attended by an Indian Prime Minister was CHOGM 2009 in Trinidad and Tobago, by the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
UK Joins International Solar Alliance to Mark PM Modi’s visit:
On April 16, 2018, on the eve of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to London, UK formally joined the International Solar Alliance.
- Announcement in this regard was made at an event titled “Financing the Green Revolution” organised at the London Stock Exchange by the International Solar Alliance (ISA) and London Stock Exchange (LSE) Group with the support of the governments of India and the United Kingdom.
- The Framework Agreement of the ISA was signed by Penny Mordaunt, UKs Secretary of State for International Development.
- UK thus became the 62nd signatory member of the ISA.
- However, UK’s role in ISA would be limited to providing expertise and advice to the alliance and would not involve any monetary contributions.
Highlights of Meeting between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and British Prime Minister Theresa May:
On April 18, 2018, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi held breakfast meeting with his British Prime Minister Theresa May in London.
- Both the leaders discussed multiple aspects of India-UK bilateral relations and issues like counter-terrorism, radicalisation and online extremism.
- PM Modi assured Ms. Theresa May that there would be no dilution in the importance of the UK to India after it leaves the European Union.
- In June 2016, UK had taken a decision to exit European Union. The decision was taken through a nation-wide referendum which is known as ‘Brexit’ referendum.
India and UK sign 10 agreements in several sectors including cyber-relationship and Ganga rejuvenation
India and UK signed following Memorandum of Understanding (MoUs)/Agreements during the course of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to UK:
i. UK-India Cyber Relationship framework aimed at having a free, open, peaceful and secure cyberspace; and cooperation in exchange of information and strategies for effective cyber security incident management and threat response.
ii. MoU between National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) and Natural Environmental Research Council (NERC), UK to enable United Kingdom to support Government of India in sustainable management of water resources in the Ganga river basin.
iii. MoU on agreement on Skill Development, vocational education and training.
iv. Agreement between Atomic Energy Regulatory Board of India (AERB) and the Office for Nuclear Regulation of Great Britain (ONR) related to regulation of safe nuclear energy use for peaceful purposes.
v. Statement of Intent between NITI Aayog and UK’s Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) to explore the scope of technology co-operation in areas such as electric vehicles, AI (Artificial Intelligence), FinTech, and advanced manufacturing.
vi. MoU on cooperation in the field of animal husbandry, dairying and fisheries sectors.
vii. MoU on exchange of information for the purposes of combating international criminality and tackling serious organised crime.
viii. An addendum covering research in humanities and social sciences has been added to the 2004 Newton-Bhabha MoU.
ix. MoU between All India Institute of Ayurveda (AIIA) and College of Medicine, UK to enable development of evidence-based guidelines for integrating Ayurvedic principles and practices with modern medicine, and develop Ayurvedic medical education guidelines for Ayurveda education in the UK.
x. MoU to strengthen institutional cooperation in the field of sustainable urban development, to include business engagement, access to finance, knowledge exchange and research and innovation and to build on existing cooperation on the Smart Cities Mission.
UK-India Tech Alliance launched by Nasscom, TechUK
Indian IT body National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM) has partnered with techUK to launch the UK-India Tech Alliance aimed at strengthening the technology sectors in both the countries.
- The partnership envisages lending support to IT sectors in both India and the UK by developing stronger people-to-people and business-to-business links, networks and joint platforms.
- This partnership will also promote the growth of skills in areas like artificial intelligence, big data analytics, machine learning and cyber security.
UK-India Joint Statement during the visit of Prime Minister Modi to UK
Through UK-India Joint Statement issued during the visit of Prime Minister Modi to UK, both the countries have agreed to reinforce the Strategic Partnership, based on shared values, common law and institutions.
- Both countries have also agreed to work closely together and with other Commonwealth member-states, the Commonwealth Secretariat and other partner organisations to address shared and global challenges.
- Leaders of both the countries reiterated their commitment to work together in various areas viz. trade, investment, finance, technology, climate change, defence, cyber security and counter terrorism.
Quick Facts about United Kingdom (UK):
♦ Capital – London
♦ Currency – Great British Pound
♦ Current Prime Minister – Theresa May
♦ Important River – Thames, Severn, Trent
India pools into USD 5mn small states fund at CHOGM
India is among four countries to pool into the USD 5 million ‘Commonwealth Small States Trade Finance Facility’ which will enable small states to obtain easier access to international trade finance to diversify their economies and achieve the sustainable development goals.
- The fund was announced at the 25th Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in London, UK.
- Along with India, other three countries that will inject capital in this facility are Sri Lanka, Mauritius and Malta.
- Standard Chartered Bank and the Bank of Baroda, are the facility managers for this fund.
- This trade finance facility has been developed by a working group including the International Finance Corporation, Export Import (EXIM) Bank of India, Government of Malta, Central Bank of Malta and the Commonwealth Secretariat.
- 31 Commonwealth nations classified as small states can avail this facility. But before it is available to all such nations, it will be rolled out on pilot basis in Bahamas, Botswana, Brunei, Dominica, Fiji, Mauritius, Namibia and Seychelles.
PM Modi holds bilateral talks with Hasina, others on CHOGM sidelines
On April 18, 2018, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had a series of bilateral meetings including discussions with his Bangladesh counterpart Sheikh Hasina and Seychelles President Danny Faure on the sidelines of the multilateral Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in London, UK.
- As stated by the Ministry of External Affairs official, PM Narendra Modi and Prime Minister of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina had a productive exchange of views on various issues of bilateral interest.
- PM Modi’s discussion with Seychelles President Faure focused on cooperation in areas of trade and investment and other bilateral issues.
- PM Modi also met Mauritius Prime Minister Pravind Kumar Jugnauth and talked about cooperation in trade and investment, maritime cooperation and people-to-people ties.
- Other leaders with whom PM Modi interacted on sidelines of CHOGM: Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Gambian President Adama Barrow, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, Fiji Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama and Prime Minister of Solomon Islands, Rick Houenipwela.
Facts related to 25th Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting/CHOGM 2018:
♦ Dates – 19th and 20th April 2018
♦ Held in – London, Windsor – England
♦ Chair – Theresa May, PM of UK
♦ Theme – ‘Towards a Common Future’