UK Cabinet Ministers Out In Force To Endorse India Ties


2020-07-10 16:34:10

Credit: The British High Commission in India

Credit: The British High Commission in India

The strength of the UK-India relationship was on show today 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.

 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 His Royal Highness 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 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.

 Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said: “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. 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.”

 Other senior UK speakers included:

Lizz Truss, Trade Secretary. She 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. He 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. He thanked the Government of India for its support in the UK’s repatriation efforts and praised the living bridge that links the two countries.

Lord Jitesh GadhiaMember of the House of Lords. He moderated a dialogue on the strategic relationship between the UK and India.

John Murton, the Government’s COP26 envoy. The UK will host next year’s UN climate conference and he highlighted how the world can unite behind a clean, resilient recovery.

Richard Moore, Director General for Political Affairs, Foreign and Commonwealth Office. He participated in a discussion on how the UK and India can work together to ensure that multilateral institutions continue to be relevant.

Alan Gemmell, British Deputy High Commissioner for Western India and Her Majesty’s Trade Commissioner for South Asia. His session focused on effective cross-sector partnerships to counter the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • 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 full programme and list of speakers is available, here.
  • The UK is a top partner for India on climate change issues, having joined the India-led International Solar Alliance last year, which aims to mobilise more than $1 trillion of investments in solar energy by 2030. The UK will host COP26 next year, and this week announced a £3 billion green investment recovery package which will help build jobs, decarbonise homes and cut emissions.
  • 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), which aims to bring about a transformation in how infrastructure is designed, constructed, operated and maintained.
  • The UK has committed £313m 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. This builds on the already thriving science and technology collaboration between the UK and India which has seen joint research and innovation spending increase from £1m in 2008 to over £400m by 2021.
  • The ‘living bridge’ of people, ideas and institutions that tie the UK and India together includes a vibrant Indian diaspora of more than 1.5 million people in the UK. There are currently 15 Indian-origin MPs in Parliament, three of whom are Cabinet level.