India and the United Kingdom are negotiating a free trade agreement as part of a 2030 roadmap on the countries’ relationship, Indian Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla said on Thursday, Trend reports citing India Today.
Virtually addressing the India Global Forum, UK 2021, Shringla said, “We are looking forward to an enhanced trade partnership. We are also looking at the first consular dialogue for closer cooperation. Our security and defence cooperation is high on the agenda too.”
He said that special focus is on cyber security and health cooperation. “We are working on cooperation in AMR (antimicrobial resistance), digital health, medical supply chains, alternative health as well as the training and mobility of healthcare professionals,” he said.
He also said that India has worked hard in the field of renewable energy. “Since 2017, we have had more renewable energy in the energy mix in India than normal fossil fuel energy. In the last six years, we have increased our renewable energy capacity by 2.5 times. ”
Speaking on the Afghanistan crisis, he said that it is very high on India’s agenda and India is evaluating the changing local and global situation. “Our approach towards Afghanistan is underlined in the UNSC Resolution 2593.”
The United Nations Security Council Resolution 2593 reiterates the importance of combating terrorism in Afghanistan. Shringla reiterated the resolution, calling for the Taliban to facilitate safe passage for people wanting to leave Afghanistan, allow humanitarians to access the country, uphold human rights, including for women and children, and inclusive and negotiated political settlement.
Speaking about India-UK relations, Shringla said that the two countries' prime ministers feel it is time to take the relationship exponentially forward. “We have got a strong agenda till 2030,” he said.
Phillip Barton, Permanent Under-Secretary of the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, UK, said at the session that the Taliban need to be held accountable for their actions rather than their words on ensuring the human rights of women and the minorities in Afghanistan.