British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has expressed confidence that the UK-India partnership will be “a defining one for our times”, ahead of the UK-India Week 2023 beginning on Saturday.
The annual event which will continue through June 30, seeks to strengthen the partnership between the two nations by providing a platform to spotlight crucial areas, including politics, trade, business, among other sectors.
Praising the event as a catalyst for forging new trade ties, the British-Indian Prime Minister said that the “India Global Forum’s annual UK-India Week 2023 is a highly anticipated fixture in the bilateral calendar of our two great nations”.
“It is a catalyst for forging new trade ties, lasting collaborations, and a better future for our peoples. I’m confident this partnership will be a defining one for our times,” the 43-year-old said in a statement from Downing Street.
Sunak’s comments come against the backdrop of the 2030 Roadmap, and the ongoing FTA negotiations — a key indicator of his ambition to transform and elevate UK-India ties.
He met Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the sidelines of the recent G7 summit in Hiroshima, where the two leaders reviewed the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership and took stock of the FTA negotiations.
The British government has estimated that a trade deal could increase the UK’s GDP by approximately 3.3 billion pounds to 6.2 billion pounds, and India’s by around 3.7 billion pounds to 8.6 billion pounds by 2035.
As hs former role as Chancellor, Sunak had spoken at the event as a special guest last year, highlighting the importance of forging a partnership of equals.
“India isn’t looking to the past. And nor can we. We need to move forward. Because the UK does not have a natural right to sit at the table with one of the world’s largest, fastest growing, and most dynamic economies. We must earn it,” he had said.
Manoj Ladwa, Founder and Chairman of India Global Forum, said: “Given the geopolitical upheaval and economic turbulence around the world, I believe that it is more important now than ever before that the UK and India forge closer and deeper ties.
“I am therefore grateful to Prime Minister Sunak for recognising the role that IGF is playing in bringing our two great democracies closer to unlocking the true potential of the partnership.”
This year’s UK-India week will open with an address by opposition Labour Party leader Keir Starmer, and will see participation by several senior political and business figures from the two nations.
Raj Kumar Singh, Minister for Power, New & Renewable Energy, and Secretary of State for Education Gillian Keegan will be among prominent figures attending the event.
Past speakers of the event included King Charles III, five serving and former British Prime Ministers, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and many other world-renowned business leaders, entrepreneurs and cultural figures.