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Modi, Sunak Review Free Trade Agreement Negotiations

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday met his British counterpart Rishi Sunak and reaffirmed his commitment to further strengthen the India-UK strategic partnership in the third term of the NDA government and reviewed the progress made in the ongoing FTA negotiations.

The two leaders greeted each other with a warm hug as they met on the sidelines of the 50th G7 Summit at the luxury resort of Borgo Egnazia in Apulia.

“It was a delight to meet PM @RishiSunak in Italy. I reiterated my commitment to further strengthen the India-UK Comprehensive Strategic Partnership in the third term of the NDA Government,” Modi posted on X soon after their meeting.

“There is great scope to deepen ties in sectors like semiconductors, technology and trade. We also talked about further cementing ties in the defence sector,” Modi wrote.

The spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs Randhir Jaiswal described the meeting between the two leaders as “fruitful.” “The two leaders took stock of bilateral relations in areas of defence and security, trade and economic collaboration, critical and high technology sectors and people to people connect. They discussed implementation of Roadmap 2030 and progress made in ongoing FTA negotiations,” Jaiswal posted on X.

Sunak and Modi last met in person at the G20 Summit in New Delhi last September, when they had agreed to accelerate the FTA talks with the hope of signing off before India’s general election.

However, the trade talks are now expected to resume only after a new UK government is elected on July 4.

The India-UK FTA negotiations, which opened in January 2022, are aimed at significantly enhancing bilateral trade – currently worth around 38.1 billion pounds a year as per official statistics from earlier this year.

Modi’s meeting with Sunak followed his talks with French President Emmanuel Macron.

He is attending the summit on the invitation of Italian President Georgia Meloni and will address an Outreach session on Artificial Intelligence, Energy, Africa and the Mediterranean alongside leaders of other invited countries and Pope Francis.

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