India-UK FTA still being negotiated for the right balance of give and take: EAM

New Delhi, May 18 (FN Agency) External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Friday said the India-UK Free Trade deal is still being negotiated as the two sides “haven’t yet got the right balance of give and take”, even as Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra who is in London held talks with UK officials on the FTA’s progress. The EAM, speaking during a CII event here, said: “The India-UK trade deal, I think they haven’t yet got the right balance of give and take; and those negotiations carry on, and we’ll have to really see where we go.” On trade deals in general, the EAM said that India is for trade deals “if they work for us; and I think the challenge in any trade deal is to get the right balance, because every trade deal is some element of give and take.” The Indian High Commission in London said that FS Kwatra met the UK Department of Business and Trade Second Permanent Secretary & Chief Trade Negotiator Crawford Falconer “and discussed progress in the FTA negotiations”. “FS Kwatra reiterated India’s commitment to finalize a balanced and mutually beneficial deal at the earliest,” the Indian HC said on X. FS Kwatra also met Philip Barton, Permanent Under-Secretary at the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, for the annual UK-India Strategic Dialogue.

The two sides “reviewed the progress made on the UK-India 2030 Roadmap since the last Dialogue in January 2023 and looked ahead to the next phase of bilateral cooperation,” a UK High Commission statement said here.. “The two reflected on good progress on the 2030 Roadmap since the last review, noting key areas where the UK and India have worked together to tackle some of the world’s biggest challenges. This included collaborating on the world’s first malaria vaccine, working closely on India’s successful G20 Presidency and increasing opportunities for students and entrepreneurs under the Migration and Mobility Partnership.” “Alongside celebrating the milestones since the last review, this year’s Dialogue included the ongoing commitment to negotiate a mutually beneficial Free Trade Agreement (FTA), and enhancing defence cooperation,” it said. FS Kwatra also met Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, Minister for South Asia, and discussed the FTA, migration and the Commonwealth. “Lord Ahmad said: “We are delighted to host Indian Foreign Secretary Kwatra in London to underline the UK’s commitment to deepening cooperation with India. I look forward to our relationship going from strength to strength, working together on trade, defence, climate, and health.” In 2021, the UK and India agreed on the ‘2030 Roadmap’ that includes commitments to deepen cooperation on health, climate, trade, education, science and technology, and defence.