Britain and India announced private sector investments worth one billion pounds ($ 1.39 billion) and pledged to seek a free trade agreement, ahead of a hypothetical meeting between British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi on Tuesday.
The meeting is an alternative to a visit Johnson was planning to take to India last month to deepen cooperation between the two countries, while Britain seeks to find new trade partners after leaving the European Union.
“Like all aspects of the relationship between the United Kingdom and India, the economic ties between our two countries make our peoples stronger and more secure,” Johnson said in a statement.
In addition to the investment package, the two countries will also finalize an “enhanced business partnership” agreement that will lift barriers to exporting a wide range of products ranging from British apples to medical devices, and have taken steps to open up the legal services sector in India to British companies.
The association agreement is seen as a step towards a full-fledged free trade agreement that Britain hopes by 2030 will double bilateral trade from its current level of around £ 23 billion annually.