Britain is expecting to a free trade deal with India to be completed by the end of this year, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson told reporters as he stressed the importance of reducing reliance on foreign oil and gas in light of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“We’re hoping to complete another free trade agreement with India by the end of the year, by the autumn,” Johnson said whilst visiting India’s western state of Gujarat.
India prompted concern amongst western allies by abstaining in a UN vote to condemn Russia over the attack on its neighbor. New Delhi and Moscow also have close ties, with India heavily reliant on Russia for energy supplies and other commodities.
A spokesperson for Johnson had said before the visit that he would not raise the abstention with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“India and Russia have, historically, a very different relationship, perhaps than Russia and the UK have had over the last couple of decades. We have to reflect that reality but clearly I’ll be talking about it to Narendra Modi. India and the UK both share anxieties about autocracies around the world. We’re both democracies, and we want to stick together,” Johnson said.
The British Prime Minister also stressed the need to move away from reliance hydrocarbons and work towards energy self-sufficiency.
“One of the things that we’re talking about is what we can do to build partnerships on hydrogen, on electric vehicles, on offshore wind… there’s also the opportunity for us to deepen our security and defense partnership.” Johnson added.