UK-India’s £1bn handshake

Tuesday 04th May 2021 12:41 EDT

In a virtual meeting on May 4, during the ‘Leaders Summit On Climate’ UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Indian PM Narendra Modi agreed upon a deeper cooperation between the UK and India, including a new Enhanced Trade Partnership paving the way for a future UK-India Free Trade Agreement. 


This followed after Johnson cancelled his trip to India amid its soaring Coronavirus cases in April 2021. India’s Minister of External Affairs, S Jaishankar is also on a four day visit to the UK to attend the G7 Summit between May 3 - 6. 


According to the agreement, with the whopping £1bn of new UK-India trade and investment announced by the prime minister, over £533m of new Indian investment into the UK, which is expected to create more than 6,000 jobs in vital and growing sectors such as health and technology. £200m of these deals will support low carbon growth.


It was also reported that this includes a £240 million investment by the Serum Institute of India in the UK into their vaccine business and a new sales office which will create a large number of jobs. The sales office is expected to generate new business worth over $1 billion, £200 million of which will be invested into the UK.


Prime Minister Modi pressed Boris Johnson over the status of two fugitive tycoons, Vijay Mallya and Nirav Modi. Mr Johnson cited "legal hurdles" but promised to extradite them back to India as soon as possible. In a strategic move, India will take back illegal migrants from UK For 3,000 Worker Visas. 

List of MoUs/Declarations agreed/announced at the India-UK Virtual Summit


  • Declaration for the launch of an Enhanced Trade Partnership. 
  • MoU on India-UK Global Innovation Partnership
  • MoU on India-UK Migration and Mobility Partnership
  • Joint Declaration of intent on cooperation in the fields of Digital and Technology
  • MoU on cooperation in the field of Telecommunications/ICT.
  • Agreement on Customs Cooperation and Mutual Administrative Assistance in customs matters.
  • Statement of Principles on news joint work between India and the UK on the India Energy Security Scenarios Calculator. MoU in the field of medical products regulation between the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency MHRA and India’s Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) 
  • MoU on Pharmacopoeial Cooperation between the Indian Pharmacopoeia Commission (IPC) and the British Pharmacopoeia (BP).

Tech and digital partnership

In addition to that, British businesses have also secured new export deals with India worth more than £446 million, which will drive UK growth and create more than 400 British jobs. This includes CMR Surgical exporting its next-generation ‘Versius’ surgical robotic system which helps surgeons perform minimal access surgery being rolled out to hospitals in India. This export deal is worth £200 million and will result in the creation of 100 new jobs in the UK.


UK finally manifests its whiskey dream 

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “In the decade ahead, with the help of the new Partnership signed today and a comprehensive Free Trade Agreement, we will double the value of our trading partnership with India and take the relationship between our two countries to new highs.


“The Enhanced Trade Partnership agreed today creates immediate opportunities for British businesses in India across industries including food and drink, life sciences and the service sector. Non-tariff barriers on fruit and medical devices will be lowered – allowing British businesses to export more of their products to India and boosting UK growth and jobs.


A future UK-India trade deal will support hundreds of thousands of jobs and boost the economies of both the UK and India by potentially lowering or removing current tariffs such as those of up to 150% on whisky and up to 125% on automotives as well as on other British products. It would also create huge benefits for British services – 4 out of 5 of India’s fastest-growing imports are for services like IP and telecommunications.


IEA fellow comments on UK-India trade and investment deals

Responding to the Prime Minister’s announcement of new trade and investment deals with India, IEA Academic Fellow and Competere CEO Shanker Singham said: “It is important that Prime Minister Modi acknowledges the challenges I outlined, especially in the area of property rights protection, and the cases I highlighted where property rights were being violated.”


FICCI Welcomes the announcement of £1 billion invest boost by UK and India

Welcoming the announcement by Britain and India of a private sector led investment of £1 billion, Baroness Prashar, Chairperson, FICCI UK Council said, “It is heartening to see the announcement of more than £533m by Indian Private sector that will create over 6,000 jobs and investments in sectors like healthcare, technology will help build better economic links between the two countries.” 

Commenting on the announcement, Uday Shankar, President, FICCI said, “We are happy to see the ‘Roadmap 2030’ being adopted to elevate bilateral ties to a ‘Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.”


Mission £23 billion by 2030

Responding to the UK-India deal, Lord Karan Bilimoria, CBI president, said: “The enhanced trade partnership will usher in a new era of UK-India relations and shows the world the strength of our relationship. Paving the way for a future UK-India Free Trade Agreement and setting the ambition of more than doubling bilateral trade from the current level of £23 billion by 2030.  As leaders in tech and innovation this enhanced partnership will unlock opportunities for businesses, boost job creation and growth across the country.

“Through joint efforts and collaborations we’ve seen the best from our two nations in the fight against Covid. As India battles with a devastating outbreak we’ll need that same spirit and solidarity to overcome this wave. I urge any businesses that can help supply vital medical equipment and support to get in touch with the CBI.”


Dr S Jaishankar signs the Migration and Mobility Partnership Agreement

On May 4, Minister of External Affairs (MEA) Dr S Jaishankar met Home Secretary Priti Patel while participating in the Group of Seven (G7) foreign ministers meet. Patel and Jaishankar signed the Migration and Mobility Partnership Agreement to facilitate legal travel and encourage talent flows. Taking to Twitter, he wrote, “A fruitful meeting this morning with Home Secretary @pritipatel. Signed the Migration and Mobility Partnership Agreement that would facilitate legal travel and encourage talent flows. The living bridge between India and the UK will get stronger as a result.” This pact will provide enhanced employment opportunities for 3,000 young Indian professionals annually, in return for India agreeing to take back any of its citizens who are living illegally in the UK. He is also set to interact with his UK counterpart Dominic Raab over geopolitical issues that threaten to undermine democracy, freedoms and human rights. They will also discuss relations with Russia, China and Iran as well as the crisis in Myanmar, the violence in Ethiopia and the ongoing war in Syria. Jaishankar will join foreign ministers from G7 nations -  Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, US, UK and the European Union - and guest countries, including Australia, the Republic of Korea and South Africa and the Chair of ASEAN, in a bid to agree on decisive action on the most critical global issues such as threats to democracy. 

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