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NEW DELHI: India and the UK will announce a new Enhanced Trade Partnership that sets the goal of doubling trade by 2030 and paving the way for a future UK-India Free Trade Agreement during a virtual summit between the prime ministers of the two countries on Tuesday.

This is seen as one of the key takeaways from the summit.

“The Partnership sets the ambition to double the value of UK-India trade by 2030 and declares the two countries’ shared intent to begin work towards negotiations on a comprehensive FTA ( Free trade agreement). India is by far the largest market the UK has committed to negotiating a trade deal with to date," a statement from the UK High Commission said ahead of the summit.

Besides trade, health, climate change and defence will also be top of the agenda, the statement said.

“The Prime Ministers will also announce £1 billion in new UK-India trade and investment, including in vital and growing sectors such as health and technology," it said.

“The UK-India business community has demonstrated its strength over the last week in response to India’s coronavirus surge. The British Asian Trust has raised over £1.6m in the last week through their emergency appeal and UK business leaders have mobilised in response to the Indian High Commission’s request for vital equipment. BOC Ltd has donated 5,000 empty oxygen cylinders, the first of which were transferred to Chennai this morning by the Indian Air Force," the statement said referring to the assistance cooperation between two countries in the midst of a brutal second wave of the pandemic in India.

India’s Serum Institute is already manufacturing the Oxford AstraZeneca developed Covishield vaccine for the Indian and international markets. Serum Institute chief Adar Poonawalla has been quoted in news reports as saying that he was planning to add capacity to his existing facilities by investing outside of India, possibly in the UK.

“Like every aspect of the UK-India relationship, the economic links between our countries make our people stronger and safer," British prime minister Boris Johnson was quoted as saying by the statement.

“In the decade ahead, with the help of the new Partnership signed today and a comprehensive Free Trade Agreement, we will double the value of our trading partnership with India and take the relationship between our two countries to new highs," Johnson added.

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