Forging future pathways: EAM Jaishankar's productive diplomatic mission in the United Kingdom
EAM Jaishankar's visit injects fresh momentum into bilateral cooperation across various sectors
In an awaited diplomatic endeavor, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar has concluded a productive five-day official visit to the United Kingdom, marking a significant phase in enhancing India-UK relations. From November 11 to 15, 2023, the visit encompassed a series of high-level engagements, reflecting India’s growing global influence and its commitment to forging stronger ties with key international players.
THE FOUNDATION OF KEY MEETINGS & DISCUSSIONS
EAM Jaishankar met with an array of British political leaders, including Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, newly appointed Foreign Secretary David Cameron, Home Secretary James Cleverly, Defence Secretary Grant Shapps, and National Security Adviser Tim Barrow.
These interactions represented the multifaceted nature of the India-UK relationship, covering a broad spectrum of areas including political, economic, defence, science and technology, and people-to-people connections. The dynamic encompasses defined political and diplomatic engagement with frequent high-level exchanges that advance cooperation on issues like climate change, global health, and security, including the UK's support for India's bid for a permanent seat at the UN Security Council.
Economically, the two nations are significant trading partners, working towards a Free Trade Agreement to enhance bilateral trade and investment, leveraging the UK's financial expertise and India's burgeoning market. In defense and security, they collaborate closely, with India's 'Make in India' initiative opening opportunities for UK companies in defense manufacturing.
The partnership also thrives in science, technology, and education, where the UK's research strengths complement India's talent pool, leading to collaborative endeavors in higher education and innovation. Cultural and people-to-people ties, especially through the extensive Indian diaspora in the UK, further cement this relationship, contributing to diverse sectors like business, medicine, arts, and politics.
On a global scale, India and the UK jointly tackle challenges such as climate change, counter-terrorism, and global health, demonstrating their commitment in international forums like the Commonwealth, G20, and the United Nations.
STRATEGIC DIALOGUES & BILATERAL AGREEMENTS
A highlight of the visit was EAM Jaishankar’s meeting with PM Sunak, where they reviewed the implementation of the ambitious Roadmap 2030, aimed at bolstering the India-UK partnership. They expressed satisfaction at the positive momentum in the bilateral relationship, particularly in addressing contemporary global challenges. The discussions with Foreign Secretary Cameron on his first day in office were equally noteworthy, focusing on realizing the full potential of the India-UK partnership in various domains.
ADDRESSING GLOBAL & REGIONAL ISSUES
EAM Jaishankar’s dialogues with UK leaders touched upon crucial global developments, including the Indo-Pacific dynamics, the West Asia situation, and the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
In his meeting with Home Secretary Cleverly, EAM Jaishankar discussed the importance of mobility in skills and talent in the development of bilateral cooperation, and exchanged views on addressing extremism, trans-border crimes including economic offences and trafficking.
ENHANCING DEFENCE & SECURITY TIES
In his meeting with Defence Secretary Shapps, the EAM discussed enhancing defence and security cooperation. The 'Make in India' initiative was recognized as a significant opportunity for UK companies, reflecting the potential for deepening industrial partnerships in the defence sector.
ENGAGEMENT WITH THE INDIAN DIASPORA
Addressing the Indian diaspora at a Diwali Reception at Westminster Palace, Jaishankar highlighted the unrealized pathways for collaboration between India and the UK. His visit to the BAPS Swaminarayan Temple in Neasden and the unveiling of the 8th-century Yogini sculptures recovered in the UK further cemented cultural ties.
POLICY DISCUSSIONS & BILATERAL TIES
EAM Jaishankar also engaged in a thought-provoking conversation on ‘How a Billion People See the World’ at a policy event, reflecting on India's perspective in global affairs. The discussion, attended by influential figures across various sectors, reiterated the importance of India-UK relations in the contemporary geopolitical landscape.
CONCLUSION OF THE VISIT
The visit culminated in reinforcing the historical ties between India and the UK, providing new impetus to bilateral cooperation in diverse areas. It underscored the commitment to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership and marked substantial progress in ongoing free trade agreement negotiations, symbolizing a future-oriented approach to the India-UK relationship.
EAM Jaishankar’s visit to the UK echoed India's proactive foreign policy and its strategic intent to strengthen partnerships with key global players. The engagements during the visit not only consolidated existing ties but also opened avenues for future collaboration, setting a positive trajectory for India-UK relations.