Home International Relations Indian Foreign Secretary’s London Visit Strengthens India-UK Bilateral Cooperation

Indian Foreign Secretary’s London Visit Strengthens India-UK Bilateral Cooperation

India’s Foreign Secretary, Vinay Kwatra, paid an official visit to the United Kingdom from May 16-17, engaging in high-level discussions aimed at bolstering India-UK bilateral relations. This visit marked the 16th round of Foreign Office consultations with Sir Philip Barton, Permanent Under-Secretary at the Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office (FCDO), according to a press release from the Ministry of External Affairs.

During his visit, Kwatra held meetings with several key UK officials, including Lord Tariq Ahmed, Minister of State for South Asia; James Cartlidge, Minister of State for Defence Procurement; Sir Tim Barrow, National Security Adviser; Matthew Rycroft, Permanent Secretary at the Home Office; Crawford Falconer, Chief Trade Negotiator; and Professor John Bew, Senior Foreign Policy Adviser to the Prime Minister. These meetings covered a broad spectrum of bilateral relations and regional and global issues of mutual interest. A significant focus of the visit was the comprehensive review of the progress made on the India-UK 2030 Roadmap, which was initially launched in 2021. This roadmap outlines ambitious plans to deepen cooperation in various sectors, including trade, economic development, defence and security, science and technology, people-to-people mobility, energy, climate change, and health.

In their discussions, Kwatra and Barton underscored the substantial progress achieved across all pillars of the roadmap and reiterated their commitment to elevating the level of ambition in bilateral cooperation. They agreed to further strengthen collaboration in these key areas. Kwatra’s meeting with Lord Tariq Ahmed specifically focused on the ongoing negotiations for a Free Trade Agreement (FTA), migration issues, and the Commonwealth. Lord Ahmed expressed the UK’s enthusiasm for deepening ties with India, stating, “We are delighted to host Foreign Secretary Mr. Kwatra in London to underline the UK’s commitment to deepening cooperation with India.” The 13th round of negotiations for the India-UK trade agreement, which took place between September 18 and December 15, 2023, involved in-person sessions in both London and Delhi, as well as virtual talks. These negotiations are part of the broader effort to forge a robust economic partnership between the two nations.

India and the United Kingdom share a comprehensive strategic partnership that has been reinforced through regular high-level political exchanges and meetings of bilateral institutional mechanisms. The officials also agreed to hold the next round of Foreign Office consultations in 2025 in New Delhi, continuing the momentum of their collaborative efforts. Kwatra’s visit underscores the importance both nations place on their strategic partnership and their shared commitment to addressing global challenges and promoting mutual prosperity through enhanced cooperation.