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India-UK 2030 Roadmap in focus as Jaishankar kickstarts bilaterals ahead of key G20 meeting

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and UK Foreign Secretary James Cleverly in New Delhi on Wednesday (Image courtesy: Twitter/@JamesCleverly)

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and UK Foreign Secretary James Cleverly on Wednesday discussed progress on the India-UK 2030 Roadmap which aims to bolster the two countries’ ties in defence and security, trade and investment.

The meeting took place in New Delhi ahead of the G20 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting being held under India’s Presidency.

“Reviewed the progress in our relationship since our last discussion. Noted in particular the commencement of the Young Professional Scheme,” Jaishankar tweeted after the meeting.

Later today, the UK Foreign Secretary will launch an ambitious new exchange scheme at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in New Delhi which would allow young British and Indian professionals to live and work in each other’s countries for up to two years.

“India is a hugely important partner to the UK and the deeper ties we are forging now will help to grow the UK economy and boost our industries for the future. This landmark migration scheme will enable the brightest and best in both our countries to benefit from new opportunities,” Cleverly said on Tuesday.

India has the world’s third-highest number of tech unicorns and start-ups, with 108 start-ups gaining the unicorn status of a private company valued at over $1 billion.

Cleverly will also announce the creation of the UK’s first Tech Envoy to the Indo-Pacific region, who will boost ties with India as a priority. This envoy is the second of its kind to be announced by the UK after the appointment of a Tech Envoy to the US in late 2020.

“India is also an emerging global leader on technology and there are immense opportunities for better collaboration between us in this sector. That is why we will be sending our first Tech Envoy to the Indo-Pacific region, to maximise the tech expertise of both countries,” said the UK Foreign Secretary.

The UK Foreign Ministry said that Cleverly will also address an India-Europe business event in the capital where he will reaffirm the UK’s commitment to conclude a Free Trade Agreement with India. With more links than almost any country in the Indo-Pacific region, the UK-India trading relationship is already worth £34 billion, growing by £10 billion in one year.

On a busy morning, Jaishankar also held meetings with Comoros Foreign Minister Dhoihir Dhoulkamal, who is also the Chair of African Union, Mexico Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard and Josep Borrell, the European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.

“Our conversation focused on the G20 agenda and the Ukraine conflict. Appreciated the steady growth of India-EU cooperation,” tweeted Jaishankar after meeting Borrell.