The strength of the India-UK relationship was on show on Friday at the India Global Week conference organised in London, with Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab leading a senior UK delegation that also included Home Secretary Priti Patel, Health Secretary Matt Hancock and Trade Secretary Liz Truss.
According to a release from British High Commission here, the inaugural address for the annual conference, held virtually this year from 9-11 July, was delivered by Prime Minister Modi.
“It brought together influential participants from the private and public sectors to discuss India, the UK and the world. This included a special address by the Prince of Wales – who visited India last year – highlighting enduring UK-India bilateral ties and the importance of building a green, sustainable future,” the release said.
The UK Foreign Secretary gave a speech by video, discussing the way Britain and India are maximising research and innovation links to tackle the challenges posted by Covid-19 and climate change.
“As leaders in the international Covid-19 response, the UK and India also co-authored the G20 Action Plan, providing an immediate package of $200 billion of global support to the most vulnerable countries around the world. A vaccine developed in Britain and manufactured in India, if successful in clinical trials, will reach a billion people across the developing world, thanks to Oxford University and India’s Serum Institute,” Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab was quoted as saying.
“We also believe our friendship with India will be crucial as the UK fulfils its ambition to be an even stronger force for good in the world. When the UK hosts COP26 in 2021, we will need to be key partners in tackling climate change.”
Home Secretary Priti Patel said: “Our relationship with India is deeply rooted in shared history, culture and our people to people ties. It is difficult to think of two other countries so deeply intertwined as the living bridge between our nations strengthens. Our partnership for the future is based upon our shared values and determination to be a force for good as we collectively embark upon new challenges and new shared opportunities.”
According to the release, other senior UK speakers included Lizz Truss, Trade Secretary, who spoke about the expansion of the UK-India trade and investment relationship, including the path towards a possible free trade deal, Matt Hancock, Health Secretary who highlighted the strong collaboration between the two countries on health-tech and pharmaceuticals during the pandemic, the invaluable contribution of Indian professionals to the National Health Service, and new opportunities to work together in areas like genomics and bioinformatics.
Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon, Minister of State for South Asia and the Commonwealth, thanked the Government of India for its support in the UK’s repatriation efforts and praised the living bridge that links the two countries, the release informed.
India Global Week is organised annually by London-based India Inc. This year’s event was entitled ‘#BeTheRevival: India and A Better New World’.
The UK is a top partner for India on climate change issues, having joined the India-led International Solar Alliance last year. In March 2020, the UK became the first co-chair of the Governing Council on the India-led global Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI).
The UK has committed PS313m to research and development to support the development of a possible vaccine to Covid-19, and AstraZeneca is leading the development work with Oxford University and India’s Serum Institute.
There are currently 15 Indian-origin MPs in Parliament, three of whom are Cabinet level.