India and the United Kingdom will launch a ‘Comprehensive Roadmap 2030’ to pave the way for further expanding and deepening India-UK cooperation over the next decade in a virtual summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and British counterpart Boris Johnson on May 4, 2021. The MEA said in a statement on Monday that the road map will cover five key areas, namely people-to-people relationship, trade and prosperity, defence and security, climate action and healthcare. India and UK have been discussing a proposed bilateral free trade agreement and enhanced trade partnership programme for a while now.
The virtual summit comes after a scheduled meeting between the two leaders during the visit of Boris Johnson to New Delhi in April was cancelled due to the current coronavirus situation in India. In a response to media queries on Johnson’s visit, MEA had said, “the two sides will be holding a virtual meeting in the coming days to launch plans for a transformed India-UK relationship. Both leaders attach the highest importance to taking the India-UK partnership to its fullest potential.”
The two countries enjoy a strategic partnership since 2004 marked by regular high-level exchanges and growing convergences in diverse areas. The road map will be an important part of the summit which will be an opportunity to elevate the multi-faceted strategic ties and enhance cooperation on regional and global issues of mutual interest.
The MEA also said that both leaders will also discuss Covid-19 cooperation and the global efforts to fight the pandemic. The depth of the partnership is reflected in UK’s solidarity in India’s battle against a resurgent second wave of coronavirus pandemic with dispatch of life-saving oxygen equipment including 495 oxygen concentrators and 200 ventilators which arrived in India last week.
The UK is sending 1,000 more ventilators to Indian hospitals to help the most severe Covid cases and the National Health Service, England, is also establishing a clinical advisory group to support India’s Covid response which will work with Indian institutions such as the All India Institute of Medical Sciences to share experience on managing Covid outbreaks.
External affairs minister S Jaishankar will be visiting London from May 3-6, 2021, to participate in the G7 Foreign Ministers meeting, at which India has been invited as a guest country. He will thereafter undertake a bilateral visit to the UK.