EAM Jaishankar calls on PM Rishi Sunak

LONDON: External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar called on UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and his wife Akshata Murty at 10 Downing Street and conveyed the best wishes of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Diwali on Sunday.

Jaishankar along with his wife, Kyoko Jaishankar met with the UK PM and presented him a Lord Ganesha Statue and a cricket bat signed by Indian batting great Virat Kohli.

Taking to his official handle on X, EAM Jaishankar shared details about his meeting with the UK PM, posting, “Delighted to call on Prime Minister @RishiSunak on #Diwali Day. Conveyed the best wishes of PM @narendramodi. India and UK are actively engaged in reframing the relationship for contemporary times. Thank Mr. and Mrs. Sunak for their warm reception and gracious hospitality.”

Jaishankar is currently on an official visit to the United Kingdom, during which he is scheduled to hold a meeting with his UK counterpart James Cleverly. He arrived in Britain on Saturday and will conclude his visit on November 15.

He will also scheduled to meet several other dignitaries during his visit.

India and the UK have a “growing bilateral partnership”, the MEA stated in a release earlier, noting that the two countries launched a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership in 2021.

“India and the UK share a warm and thriving relationship. The India-UK Comprehensive Strategic Partnership was launched in 2021 along with the India-UK Roadmap 2030,” the MEA stated in its release.

“The Roadmap is a commitment to a partnership that delivers for both the countries. EAM’s visit will give a new impetus to the friendly ties between the two countries,” it added.

Significantly, India and the UK are negotiating a Free Trade Agreement. Talks for FTA between India and the UK started in 2022 and the 12th round of negotiations took place from August 8-31 this year.

Earlier, on November 3, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his UK counterpart Rishi Sunak discussed the progress on the Free Trade Agreement during a telephone conversation.

Sunak also congratulated PM Modi on Team India’s dazzling performances in the ongoing Cricket World Cup.

“Turning to the friendship between the UK and India, the leaders discussed recent progress on Free Trade Agreement negotiations. They agreed on the importance of securing an ambitious deal that benefitted both sides,” the UK government stated in an official release.

“The leaders discussed the ongoing Cricket World Cup being held in India. The Prime Minister congratulated Prime Minister Modi on the strong performance of the India team and said he hoped England would have more luck during their test series in India in January,” it added.

PM Modi and Sunak also discussed the conflict in West Asia, especially in the context of the ongoing Israel-Hamas war. The two leaders condemned Hamas’s attacks on Israel and reiterated that the terror group “did not represent” the Palestinian people.

The two leaders also reflected on the need to de-escalate tensions in the wider region.

PM Sunak underscored the importance of protecting innocent civilians in Gaza and ensuring aid was able to flow into the country, the statement added. (ANI)

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