PM seeks ‘formidable’ roadmap of ties with UK

Sandeep Dikshit

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 16

Prime Minister Narendra Modi called for an “ambitious and outcome-oriented” 360-degree roadmap covering trade and investment, defence and security, migration and mobility, education, energy, climate change and health, in order to tap the full potential of the bilateral relationship with the United Kingdom.

The PM conveyed his keenness to receive his UK counterpart Boris Johnson in New Delhi next month, on the occasion of India’s 72nd Republic Day celebrations, said a PMO news release after UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab had called on him.

The UK High Commission said some of deliverables during Raab’s visit were India and the UK have agreed to work together on mutual recognition of academic qualifications, starting with master’s degrees, over the next year.

The two sides will also build a virtual hub to enable experts from both countries share knowledge on clinical trials and regulatory approvals and get vaccines to people who need them most.

Pune-based Serum Institute will deliver over a billion doses of the vaccine developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca. Unlike other vaccines, it can be stored at normal fridge temperatures, making it easier and cheaper to produce and keep – and distribute around the world.

According to the UK High Commission, “Millions of the doses made by Serum Institute will be distributed to the world’s poorest people via the global COVAX initiative, in partnership with the World Health Organisation (WHO) and Gavi, the vaccine alliance.”

“The Foreign Secretary signalled his ambition for a closer UK-India relationship as part of a wider UK focus on our partnerships in the Indo-Pacific. They also spoke about the 10-year roadmap which heralds a new era for the UK and India with an ambitious plan for an Enhanced Trade Partnership (ETP),” the release added.

Work on mutual recognition of degrees was agreed upon during Raab’s meeting with Minister for Education Ramesh Pokhriyal. The two also appreciated the collaboration between the University of Edinburgh and the state government to open a new biotechnology university in Gujarat in July next year.

Raab also handed over a letter from Johnson, inviting PM Modi to the G7 meeting to be chaired by the UK in 2021.

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