NEW DELHI: United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson will start his maiden two-day visit to India with a tour to Gujarat, the home state of PM Narendra Modi on April 21, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said.
Johnson will land in Ahmedabad, becoming the first British prime minister to visit Gujarat.
In a statement, Johnson’s office said his visit is aimed at deepening “our long-term partnership for peace and prosperity with a fellow leading democracy” in the face of global economic challenges and threats from autocratic countries.
In New Delhi, the UK prime minister will be accorded a ceremonial welcome at Rashtrapati Bhavan on April 22. He will meet Prime Minister Modi and hold “in-depth talks” on the UK-India strategic defence, diplomatic and economic partnership, aimed at bolstering the “close partnership and stepping up security co-operation in the Indo-Pacific” between the two nations, 10 Downing Street said.
“India and the United Kingdom enjoy a long and historical relationship which was elevated to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership during the India-UK Virtual Summit in 2021. The prime ministers will review the implementation of the Roadmap 2030 and set their vision for further intensifying cooperation across the full spectrum of bilateral ties,” said MEA.
In Gujarat, Johnson will hold meet leading business personalities and discuss the thriving commercial, trade and people links between India and the UK. He is expected to announce major investment in key industries in both India and the UK, boosting jobs and growth at home, as well as new collaboration on cutting-edge science, health, and technology, his office informed.
Gujarat is the ancestral home of around half of the British-Indian population in the UK, the PM office stated.
During his visit, the two sides will discuss speeding up Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations launched earlier this year.
Speaking ahead of his visit, Johnson described India as “a major economic power and the world’s largest democracy” and a highly valued strategic partner in “these uncertain times”.
“As we face threats to our peace and prosperity from autocratic states, it is vital that democracies and friends stick together,” he said.
In a telephonic conversation on March 22, PM Modi and the UK prime minister agreed that war-hit Ukraine’s “integrity and territorial sovereignty” must be honoured. They also acceded to promoting peace and de-escalation in the region.