Boris Johnson Visit India / What is the importance in the midst of Russia-Ukraine crisis, will Britain become an alternative to Moscow in arms-oil and trade?

Zoom News : Apr 21, 2022, 11:05 AM
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is coming to India on a two-day visit from Thursday (April 21). Johnson's visit assumes significance in its own right amid the ongoing attacks on Ukraine by Russia. Especially at a time when America, Britain as well as European countries are raising the demand from India not to trade with Russia. In such a situation, the importance of this visit of Johnson automatically increases. According to information received by Zoom News, Johnson will not give any speech on this tour to India to reduce arms or oil purchases from Russia. However, they can definitely propose alternatives to Russian products to the Modi government.

In such a situation, Zoom News is telling you what is the meaning of Boris Johnson's visit to India in the midst of Russia-Ukraine war and what important issues can be discussed in his meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Apart from this, how can the two leaders discuss important things from trade agreement to alternatives to Russian products.

First of all, on which issues will there be talks between the two leaders?

According to Boris Johnson's spokesman, the central issue of talks between the two leaders will be the Free Trade Agreement (FTA). Apart from this, the two leaders will also discuss the issue of security and terrorism in the Indo-Pacific region. It has been told that Modi and Johnson can also reach an agreement on climate change. Apart from education-jobs, a big announcement can also come from the British PM regarding investment.

Will Johnson be able to present Britain as an alternative to Russia?

In the midst of the Russo-Ukraine war, Western countries have been continuously appealing to India to sever trade ties with Russia and condemn the actions of President Vladimir Putin. Apart from this, however, India has maintained its stable stance so far. India has made it clear that it cannot risk its years-old relations with Russia because of the anger of Europe. At present, India's three armies and arms industry are 50-60 percent dependent on Russia. Apart from this, India is also somewhat dependent on Russia for oil. In such a situation, Johnson can negotiate to remove Russia as India's partner in both these areas.

1. In the field of defense needs

However, Britain's troubles are much greater in this area as well. In fact, the Government of India has already made it clear that instead of increasing imports from any country in the coming times, it will insist on domestic production under Make in India. In such a situation, the British Prime Minister can compromise on common projects to woo India. In an interview to Politico, Suresh Surana, founder of consultancy firm RSM India, said India-UK defense agreements will go ahead, but India would like most of its defense needs to be manufactured in India. In such a situation, Boris Johnson can announce defense agreements with India on the lines of America and Australia.

2. On Energy Requirements

Security is going to be the main issue of Boris Johnson and Modi meeting. But the British Prime Minister will also try to emphasize the issue of trade with Russia. However, Britain itself is in trouble in this area. In fact, before the Russo-Ukraine War, Russia was Britain's largest oil supplier. Europe is by far one of Russia's biggest oil importers, despite dozens of sanctions. In such a situation, Johnson's demand that India reduce its dependence on Russia for oil can also have the opposite effect. It is believed that Johnson will take up this issue with caution.

3. On business issue

Britain also wants to accelerate bilateral trade talks with India. After leaving the EU, Britain wants to enter into a trade agreement with India as soon as possible. The FTA tops the agenda of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. If there is an FTA between India and the UK, then the total trade between the two countries can reach 28 billion pounds by 2035.

The third round on FTA between India and UK will be held in India from 25 April. The two sides had shared the draft with each other in the second round of talks in February. The two countries had started formal talks on FTA on January 13 this year. Bilateral trade has been targeted to reach $100 billion by 2030. Right now it is $50 billion. This includes $35 billion in services and $15 billion in products. There is a dispute between the two countries on issues like visa, duty on agriculture, dairy and liquor, especially Scotch. Significantly, at the beginning of this century, Britain was India's third largest trading partner. However, by last year the UK has slipped to 17th place in trade.

4. In the field of education and jobs

The Prime Minister's Movement Partnership Agreement of Britain and India can also be discussed. A few months back, there was a discussion on this issue between Indian External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and his counterpart Priti Patel. There is a provision for one-year visas to about 3000 students and professionals from both countries, so that they can gain work experience in both countries. Then under this agreement, both sides had agreed to implement the new system of visas by April 2022.

Apart from this, the two countries are also working on another immigration plan, which may have provisions like the UK's FTA with Australia. This could give young Indians a chance to live and work in the UK for three years. Another option would be to cut the visa fee for the students. This would allow them to stay in the UK for a period of time after graduating.

Work and tourism visa fees can also be cut. Currently, an Indian citizen has to spend 1400 British pounds (over Rs 1.41 lakh) for a work visa, while students have to spend 348 pounds (Rs 35 thousand) and tourists have to spend 95 pounds (over Rs 9500) . These rates are much higher than visa fees for China. Chinese citizens have to pay very little money to get a British visa. Indian-origin British MP Karan Billimoria has been vigorously raising the demand for reducing visa fees for Indians. He is the President of the Confederation of British Industry.