UK PM Johnson speaks with PM Modi on Covid-19 vaccines

UK PM Boris Johnson speaks with PM Narendra Modi on Covid-19 vaccines, climate change and trade

Johnson says 2021 will be a year to deepen and strengthen UK-India ties

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and India PM Narendra Modi. Credit: AFP & PTI

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson spoke with his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi on Friday to discuss a wide range of global and bilateral issues, including collaboration on the Covid-19 vaccine, climate change, and trade and investment flows.

Downing Street said Johnson reiterated the year 2021 as an important one for UK-India ties and also re-emphasised the UK's commitment to the wider Indo-Pacific region, ahead of the first deployment of the HMS Queen Elizabeth carrier group to the region next year.

"The leaders discussed the work the UK and India are doing together across trade, climate change, defence, security and health. The Prime Minister said 2021 would be a year to deepen and strengthen the UK-India relationship," a Downing Street spokesperson said.

"The Prime Minister and Prime Minister Modi discussed joint efforts to find treatments and vaccines for coronavirus, and welcomed the collaboration between our countries' leading scientists. They looked forward to next month's Climate Ambition Summit, which will be an opportunity to reinvigorate the global efforts against climate change ahead of the UK-hosted COP26 Summit next year," the spokesperson said.

The UK is set to host the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP26, in Glasgow next year after the summit was postponed from its planned schedule this month due to the coronavirus pandemic and its worldwide lockdown impact.

The UK and India have, meanwhile, held a series of virtual dialogues during the course of the year, including most recently the 10th UK-India Economic and Financial Dialogue (EFD) held at the end of October.

"The Prime Minister (Johnson) stressed the importance of improving bilateral trade and investment flows. Both leaders welcomed the extensive work that has taken place on this to date and shared an ambition for deepening the economic relationship," the Downing Street spokesperson said.

"The Prime Minister (Johnson) re-emphasised the UK’s commitment to the wider Indo-Pacific region and looked forward to the first deployment of the HMS Queen Elizabeth carrier group to the region next year," the spokesperson added.

The importance of the Indo-Pacific region was among the key areas of focus during the visit of Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla to the UK earlier this month when he expressed the hope that Britain would follow France, the Netherlands and Germany in finalising its Indo-Pacific strategy.