The United Kingdom and India have announced a one-billion-pound ($1.39-billion) private-sector investment and a commitment to pursue a free trade agreement. This came ahead of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s virtual meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday.
The meeting replaces Johnson’s expected in-person visit last month to strengthen cooperation as the UK seeks new trading partners after leaving the European Union. The visit was canceled due to an increase in COVID-19 cases in India.
“Like every aspect of the UK-India relationship, the economic links between our countries make our people stronger and safer,” Johnson said in a statement.
The British government announced 533 million pounds ($739.2 million) in Indian investment into the UK, including 240 million pounds ($332.8 million) for the Serum Institute’s vaccines and distribution service, and 446 million pounds ($618.5 million) in export deals for British companies.
Any of the listed investments have already been made public.
British figures, along with data from the companies involved, indicated that the transactions would result in the creation of more than 6,500 jobs in the United Kingdom.
The two countries will soon finalize a “Enhanced Trade Partnership,” which will remove export barriers on products ranging from British apples to medical devices, and have taken measures to open up India’s legal services market to UK firms.
The cooperation agreement is seen as a first step toward a complete free-trade agreement, which Britain hopes would double bilateral trade from its current level of approximately 23 billion pounds ($31.9 billion) per year by 2030.
“In the decade ahead, with the help of new Partnership signed today and a comprehensive Free Trade Agreement, we will double the value of our trading partnership with India and take the relationship between our two countries to new highs,” Johnson said.