“Shared values, global capability” was the title of joint statement issued after an hour-long breakfast meeting of British Prime Minister Theresa May with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 18 April 2018 at 10 Downing Street in London, which expressed “deepest concern” over the use of chemical weapons in Syria and called for urgent investigations according to the Chemical Weapons Convention. The two PMs held wide-ranging and constructive discussions that underlined their Strategic Partnership, based on shared values, common law and institutions, as the world’s oldest and largest democracies, as well as growing convergence on regional and international issues. Modi visited the United Kingdom (UK) as a Guest of Government to participate in the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London from 19-20 April 2018.
Prime Minister Modi during his meeting with British PM Theresa May said, “I’m confident that new energy will be added to our ties after today’s meeting. I’m happy that UK will be part of International Solar Alliance, I believe this is not only a fight against climate change but our responsibility for future generations”.
- Prime Minister May sought to address Brexit-related concerns of Indian firms and investors by saying that their access to European markets will continue till 2020.
- Modi assured May of the UK’s continued importance to India after it leaves the European Union and said Brexit offers opportunities to further increase trade ties and said the financial district of London would continue to be of great importance to India to access global markets.
- Two PMs said bilateral trade had grown strongly over the last year and welcomed the £1 billion of commercial deals agreed on Wednesday.
- Prime Minister Modi’s agenda topped extradition of economic offenders such as Vijay Mallya and action against Pakistan-based terror groups Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammed and Hizbul Mujahideen.
- May mentioned the cases of individuals based in India wanted by UK authorities, such as Aman Vyas, accused of killing a woman in Walthamstow in 2009.
- Both PMs agreed to recognise the independence of the judiciary in their countries.
- Extradition is a judicial process in both countries, overseen by a treaty since 1992.
- May apprised Modi of her government’s position on chemical attacks in Syria, and highlighted what she called the “recent destabilising behaviour” of Russia, India’s long-standing ally. Britain blames Russia for the poisoning with a nerve agent of a former Russian spy and his daughter in Salisbury in March. Moscow has denied the allegations.
- A raft of memoranda of understanding and agreements were signed on different issues, including cyber-security, cleaning the Ganga, organised crime, Ayurveda, and a tech alliance. Britain also joined the India-led International Solar Alliance.
- The joint statement mentioned details of:
- Technology Partnership
- Trade, Investment and Finance
- Responsible Global Leadership
- Defence and Cyber Security
- Education and People-to-People
Total trade in goods and services between the UK and India was $25.5 billion in 2017, a 15% increase over 2016. UK exports to India increased by 14.9%. India was the third largest investor in the UK and the second largest international job creator, with Indian companies having created more than 110,000 jobs. The UK is the second largest G20 investor in India.