U.K. Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab Meets Prime Minister Modi To Discuss Post-Brexit Ties
Dominic Raab (L) meeting Narendra Modi (R) (Source: PMO India)

U.K. Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab Meets Prime Minister Modi To Discuss Post-Brexit Ties

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British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday to discuss the potential of an India-U.K. partnership in the post-Brexit world.

In a tweet after the meeting, Modi said he was looking forward to U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s visit to India to be the Chief Guest at the Republic Day celebrations next month.

The Prime Minister called for an ambitious and outcome-oriented roadmap covering trade and investment, defence and security, migration and mobility, education, energy, climate change and health, in order to tap the full potential of the bilateral relationship, the PMO said in a statement.

Foreign Secretary Raab conveyed greetings of Johnson to Prime Minister Modi and thanked him for participating in the recently held Climate Ambition Summit co-hosted by the U.K.

Raab also stressed the priority that the U.K. government attaches to elevating relations with India, based on shared values and interests and the potential to address common global challenges together.

During the meeting, Raab also handed over a letter from Johnson, inviting Modi to the G7 meeting to be chaired by U.K. in 2021.

Modi conveyed his keenness to receive Johnson in New Delhi next month, on the occasion of India’s 72nd Republic Day celebrations, the statement from PMO said.

Also read: U.K.’s Johnson to Visit India in January as Trade Talks to Start

A U.K. Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office statement said the British Foreign Secretary met Prime Minister Modi to discuss the two nations working together “as a force for good and launching the pioneering new vaccines hub which will share best practice for regulation and clinical trials, and foster innovation”.

According to the statement, Raab also announced that “experts from India and the U.K. will join forces through a new virtual hub to deliver vaccines for coronavirus and other deadly viruses”.

Raab, during his meeting with Modi, also pitched for a closer U.K.-India relationship as part of a wider U.K. focus on our partnerships in the Indo-Pacific, according to the statement.

They also spoke about the 10-year roadmap which heralds a new era for the U.K. and India with an ambitious plan for an “Enhanced Trade Partnership”, the statement from the British side said.

Later, Raab also visited a Delhi health clinic where Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines will be administered.

Also read: How India Should Deal With Biden And Harris

India’s Serum Institute is poised to make over a billion doses of the coronavirus vaccine developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca. Unlike other vaccines, it can be stored at normal fridge temperatures, making it easier and cheaper to produce and keep and distribute around the world.

“This Serum Institute and Oxford University partnership demonstrates the U.K.-India relationship at its best: a vaccine developed in the U.K. and made in India, drawing our brightest minds together to save lives as a global force for good,” Raab was quoted as saying in the statement.

“A global pandemic requires a global solution. Scientific cooperation has made breakthroughs on coronavirus vaccines at record-breaking pace and the U.K.-India vaccine hub will now build on these innovations, to bring this crisis to an end and protect us all against future pandemics,” he said.

Millions of the doses made by the Serum Institute will be distributed to the world's poorest people via the global COVAX initiative, in partnership with the World Health Organization and Gavi, the vaccine alliance, the British statement said.

The U.K. has championed equitable access to any coronavirus vaccine for those who need it and has committed up to 619 million pounds to COVAX to secure both the U.K.’s access to coronavirus vaccines and distribute Covid-19 vaccines across the world.

India supplies more than 50% of the world's vaccines and 25% of the National Health Service’s generic drugs. Closer U.K.-India cooperation on medicines and vaccines approvals will ensure speedy access for the U.K. to Indian-produced pharmaceuticals and help safeguard future supplies to the NHS, the statement said.

The new hub will enable British and Indian experts to share knowledge on clinical trials and regulatory approvals and get vaccines to people who need them most in a safe, secure and energy-efficient way, it said.

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It will protect the U.K. and India by enhancing cooperation on the development and distribution of coronavirus vaccines, better aligning the international regulation of vaccines and fostering partnerships to develop innovation moonshots that can define vaccine delivery over the next decade and beyond.

Raab’s three-day visit to India from Dec. 14-17 comes at a time the U.K. is holding complex negotiations with the European Union on reaching a post-Brexit trade deal.

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