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UK Foreign Secretary Elizabeth Truss to begin three-day visit to India


UK Foreign Secretary Elizabeth Truss to begin three-day visit to India

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Photo: Piyush Gowal

British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss will begin a three-day visit to India today focused on increasing bilateral ties.

The trip is Truss’ second since her September promotion to Foreign Secretary, with “economic diplomacy” centered around trade deals predicted as a tenet of her ministry. Delhi and London are scheduled to start negotiating a larger trade agreement in November, with the countries aiming to double their total trade—worth $15.4 billion in 2019-20—by 2030. Part of Truss’ trip agenda is to finalize an interim harvest deal seen as a primer for the larger pact.

Increasing trade advances both sides’ agendas. It allows the UK to showcase Brexit’s supposed benefits, while helping India forge new economic ties after Prime Minister Narendra Modi declined joining a multilateral Asia trade pact in 2019.

Expect Truss’ visit to finalize the harvest trade agreement to further promote Britain’s trade-focused agenda. While the medium-term outlook for India-UK trade ties is strong, long-term is opaquer. Britain likely will push for a free-trade agreement along WTO guidelines, but recently has struggled to achieve certain prized trade deals. A sticking point likely will be service industries, which India is eager to grow and Britain is working to protect post-Brexit.

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