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UK eyeing Indo-Pacific push

NEW DELHI : Britain’s minister for Indo-Pacific will visit India this month to push Britain’s “tilt” to the region, according to persons aware of the matter.

Anne Marie-Trevelyan, who serves as the minister responsible for the region, is expected to focus on economic engagement with India during the visit.

The two sides are in the process of negotiating a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) and are also looking to take on more joint projects in India’s neighbourhood. Mint had earlier reported that this may include renewable power projects in Sri Lanka. A precise list of countries for India-UK collaboration will be put together early next year.

Trevelyan’s visit may lay the groundwork for pushing this initiative forward and the selection of third countries. The ministry of external affairs and the British High Commission did not respond to queries mailed by Mint by press time.

“The UK-India relationship is already strong, but over the next ten years we seek transformation in our cooperation across the full range of our shared interests. India—as the largest democracy in the world —is an international actor of growing importance,” reads the British government’s 2021 integrated review, which spelled out the country’s Indo-Pacific “tilt” and its focus on India.

The move towards the Indo-Pacific came after trade between India and the UK doubled between 2007 and 2019. Total bilateral trade in goods and services stood at 36.3 billion pounds in the four quarters to the end of Q1 2023. Investment has also grown considerably. In 2021, the outward stock of foreign direct investment (FDI) from the UK in India was £19.1 billion accounting for 1.1% of the total UK outward FDI stock, according to the British government’s figures.

UK-India priorities include re-energised trade and investment and enhanced defence cooperation that brings a more secure Indian Ocean region.

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Updated: 09 Oct 2023, 12:03 AM IST

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