Widening its diplomatic outreach, Prime Minister Narendra Modi met his British counterpart Boris Johnson on the sidelines of the COP26 climate summit and discussed ways to enhance bilateral cooperation between the two nations in areas including green hydrogen, renewables and clean technology, economy and defence.
The interaction is a first in-person meeting between Modi and Johnson following the British Prime Minister's twice cancelled visit to India earlier this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The interaction took place soon after the opening ceremony of the World Leaders' Summit at COP26, was scheduled to focus on the UK-India climate partnership as well as a review of the 2030 Roadmap for stronger UK-India strategic ties – signed by the two leaders during a virtual summit in May this year.
According to the Union external affairs ministry, during the meeting, Prime Minister Modi congratulated Johnson for successfully organising the COP26 and for his personal leadership in championing global action for climate change mitigation and adaptation.
PM Modi also reiterated India's commitment to closely working with the UK on climate finance, technology, innovation and adaptation of green hydrogen, renewables and clean technologies including joint initiatives under the International Solar Alliance (ISA) and the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI).
The two prime ministers reviewed the implementation of the Roadmap 2030 priorities particularly in the trade and economy, people-to-people, health, defence and security areas.
The two leaders during the meeting also expressed satisfaction at the progress in delivering the Enhanced Trade Partnership including steps taken towards the launch of Free Trade Agreement negotiations, the release said.
Both leaders also discussed regional and global challenges including Afghanistan, counter-terrorism, Indo-Pacific, supply chain resilience and post-Covid global economic recovery.
Prime Minister Modi reiterated his desire to welcome Johnson in India soon. According to official sources, the relatively short interaction focussed on exchanging views and taking stock of the bilateral relationship.
“Both governments remain committed to the implementation of the Roadmap, within prescribed timelines. Accordingly, we are looking to launch negotiations in November 2021 for an Interim Agreement to be signed in March 2022 and eventually a comprehensive agreement, if all goes according to schedule, by November 2022,” India's High Commissioner to the UK, Gaitri Issar Kumar, said ahead of the prime ministerial talks.