Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday met his British counterpart Boris Johnson on the sidelines of the COP26 climate summit here and discussed ways to enhance bilateral cooperation in areas like green hydrogen, renewables and clean technology, economy and defence.
This was the first in-person meeting between Modi and Johnson following the British Prime Minister’s twice cancelled visit to India earlier this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The interaction, soon after the opening ceremony of the World Leaders’ Summit at COP26, was scheduled to focus on the UK-India climate partnership as well as a review of the 2030 Roadmap for stronger UK-India strategic ties – signed by the two leaders during a virtual summit in May this year.
Prime Minister Modi congratulated Johnson for successfully organising the COP26 and for his personal leadership in championing global action for climate change mitigation and adaptation.
He reiterated India’s commitment to closely work with the UK on climate finance, technology, innovation and adaptation green hydrogen, renewables and clean technologies including joint initiatives under the International Solar Alliance (ISA) and the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI), the Ministry of External Affairs said in a press release.
The two prime ministers reviewed the implementation of the Roadmap 2030 priorities particularly in the trade and economy, people-to-people, health, defence and security areas.
They expressed satisfaction at the progress in delivering the Enhanced Trade Partnership including steps taken towards the launch of Free Trade Agreement negotiations, the release said.
Both leaders also discussed regional and global challenges including Afghanistan, counter-terrorism, Indo-Pacific, supply chain resilience and post-Covid global economic recovery.
Prime Minister Modi reiterated his desire to welcome Johnson in India soon, the release added.
According to official sources, the relatively short interaction focussed on exchanging views and taking stock of the bilateral relationship.
“Both governments remain committed to the implementation of the Roadmap, within prescribed timelines. Accordingly, we are looking to launch negotiations in November 2021 for an Interim Agreement to be signed in March 2022 and eventually a comprehensive agreement, if all goes according to schedule, by November 2022,” India’s High Commissioner to the UK, Gaitri Issar Kumar, said ahead of the prime ministerial talks.
The Modi-Johnson meet, dubbed an important bilateral of the UK leg of Modi’s European tour, was followed by a leader-level COP26 event entitled Action and Solidarity: The Critical Decade, for which the UK had extended a special invitation for Modi to deliver an address on the subject of “adaptation”.
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