British PM Boris Johnson India Visit Highlights: Visiting British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Thursday termed Mahatma Gandhi an extraordinary man who mobilized the principles of truth and non-violence to change the world for better.
Johnson became the first prime minister of the UK to visit the Sabarmati Ashram, the place from where Gandhi led India's struggle for freedom from the British colonial
rule for more than a decade.
UK PM Boris Johnson arrived earlier today in Ahmedabad, Gujarat for his two-day visit to India. This is Johnson's first major trip to India as Prime Minister after his previous visits were postponed due to COVID-19.
The British Prime Minister said on Wednesday that his long-delayed visit to India will deepen the strategic trade, defence and people-to-people ties between the two countries.
Johnson's has stressed that the UK would not look to "lecture" India over its neutral stance in the United Nations or its decision to hike Russian oil imports. The UK has been trying to persuade India to reduce its reliance on Moscow since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24.
Addressing the House of Commons for his weekly Prime Minister's Questions (PMQs), Johnson said the trip to Ahmedabad and New Delhi will build on India being invited as a guest country for the G7 Summit hosted by the UK in Cornwall in June last year.
"I will be travelling to India to deepen the strategic trade, defence and people- to-people ties between our two countries, building on India's involvement in the Carbis Bay G7 summit," Johnson told members of Parliament.
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"I will be seeing Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Delhi, meeting Indian business people investing in the UK and visiting British investments in India, he said. Prime Minister Modi had addressed the G7 summit at Carbis Bay virtually as his travel plans were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The two leaders met in person later in the year, when Modi travelled to Glasgow for the COP26 climate summit in November. It is expected that the Russia-Ukraine conflict will feature prominently during the bilateral talks between the leaders when Johnson is in New Delhi on Friday.
Meanwhile, with the third round of free trade agreement (FTA) negotiations scheduled in Delhi for next week, Johnson's visit is also expected to push forward trade talks towards an end of the year agreement timeline. Unlike previous prime ministerial visits, Johnson is not accompanied by a business delegation from the UK.
The visit coincides with a crucial vote in the House of Commons on Thursday, when MPs will decide if Johnson should be referred to the Committee of Privileges over whether he knowingly misled Parliament over the partygate scandal involving lockdown-breaching parties at Downing Street.