United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson is all set to visit India later this month. In the visit that is likely to take place in the fourth week of the month, discussions and deliberations are expected to take place to boost bilateral ties between Delhi and London. The two sides have lately been holding talks on the free trade pact.
This would be Johnson’s first visit to India. In 2021, two plans for his visit to India were cancelled. Invited as Chief Guest on Republic Day, Johnson could not make it to India due to the prevailing COVID-19 situation. Then, again in April, when the UK Prime Minister decided against visiting India despite the plan, due to the country witnessing the second wave of the pandemic.
The British Premier, however, met his Indian counterparts on the sidelines of the Glassgow Climate Summit later in the year. The meeting between Modi and Johnson at the COP26 summit was the first in-person interaction between the two leaders ever since the British premier’s visit to India was cancelled twice. PM Modi back then extended an invitation to Johnson to visit India, which duly accepted, saying that he would be planning his visit ‘soon’.
UK Foreign Secretary visits India
The development comes after UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss’ visit to India. The Foreign Secretary was in India as part of a “wider diplomatic push” amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine. While Indian external affairs minister S. Jaishankar claimed that there was a ‘campaign’ to target India over buying Russian oil, Truss pointed out that while Europe may be purchasing this oil now, countries have expressed serious intent to bring down their dependence on Russia.
During her short visit, Truss had insisted that the UK will not interfere in the sovereign decisions of nations, but the difference over Russian oil. This was her second visit to the country as Foreign Secretary, following one in October, and her third as Secretary of State in 13 months.