Foreign secretary Dominic Raab has used a four-day visit of India to outline the UK’s intention for a closer relationship with the country in the future.
Speaking at a press conference in Delhi, Mr Raab insisted that Britain has been “too myopically focused just on Europe” and indicated a willingness to progress trade talks within the Indo-Pacific region stating “that’s where the growth opportunities of the future will be”.
He added: “One of the advantages of leaving the [Brexit] transition period is we gain control over our ability to strike trade deals with India and rest of the word.”
On talk of a free trade deal between the two countries, Mr Raab’s Indian counterpart S. Jaishankar said trade ministers had held discussions and there was “a serious intent” to form closer ties.
Raab added both he and Mr Jaishankar “would like to nudge our trade negotiators along and see what we can achieve.”
Mr Raab also confirmed that prime minister Boris Johnson has accepted an invitation to attend India’s Republic Day celebrations on 26 January as a guest of honour, an offer only previously afforded to John Major in 1993.
“I am absolutely delighted to be visiting India next year at the start of an exciting year for Global Britain, and look forward to delivering the quantum leap in our bilateral relationship that Prime Minister Modi and I have pledged to achieve,” Mr Johnson said in a statement.