Boris Johnson, the British Prime Minister will be visiting India at the end of April. This will be the first International trip after Britain’s exit from the European Union as part of efforts to boost UK opportunities in the region, his office said on Monday.
PM Johnson had planned a trip in January to India as part of efforts to speed up trade talks between the two nations but had been compelled to cancel due to surging Covid infections at home. At the time, his office said he had hoped to rearrange the visit before Britain hosted the meeting of leaders from the Group of Seven rich nations in June, which Prime Minister Narendra Modi is due to attend as a visitor. PM Johnson’s government said it would be focusing towards the Indo-Pacific region as part of its Integrated Review of government policy for the coming years, saying the area increasingly represented the geopolitical centre of the world.
It was only last month when Britain had made a formal request to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), seeking membership of the 11-country bloc to open new avenues for post-Brexit trade and influence. In addition, she also applied to become a dialogue partner of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. “We are pursuing trade deals from Australia to the US and around the world – particularly in the Indo-Pacific region, a huge growth market for the future,” foreign minister Dominic Raab wrote in December.
China and UK have a strenuous relationship over issues such as Hong Kong, Covid-19 and also denying Huawei an active role in Britain’s 5G network. It is believed that the deployment of Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier’s is also expected to raise military tensions in the South China Sea. The report in Reuters also mentioned that Johnson will focus “on the UK’s place in the world and the ability to seize the opportunities ahead.” She will be holding the G-7 Summit and the COP26 climate conference in November.