London: British Prime Minister Theresa May on Sunday said she will visit India next month for her first bilateral visit outside Europe during which she will hold talks with her Indian counterpart Narendra Modi and review all aspects of the India-UK strategic partnership post-Brexit.
May, 60, will be in India between November 6 and 8 on the invitation of Modi.
She will be accompanied by her international trade minister Liam Fox and a business delegation drawn from regions across the UK as “examples of the best of British business”.
“The relationships between our two countries are strong, and the Indian diaspora plays a vital role in our national life,” May said.
“In my talks with Prime Minister Modi, I want to build on our relationship for the benefit of both our countries, generating jobs and wealth and maintaining cooperation on defence and security,” the Prime Minister said.
“As we leave the European Union, we have the chance to forge a new global role for the UK ? to look beyond our continent and towards the economic and diplomatic opportunities in the wider world. I am determined to capitalise on those opportunities and as we embark on the trade mission to India, we will send the message that the UK will be the most passionate, most consistent, and most convincing advocate for free trade,” May said.
While in India, the British Prime Minister will hold discussions with Modi and a number of commercial deals are expected to be signed during the visit.
The India-UK partnership has moved into a new era, with Britain voting to leave the European Union (EU) in a referendum in June and leading to the resignation of then prime minister David Cameron.
May will land in New Delhi, where she will inaugurate the India-UK TECH Summit alongside Modi.
The TECH Summit, described as South Asia’s largest technology conference, will provide a platform for promoting technology-intensive trade between the two countries.
Fox will also attend another major international event, the Joint Economic and Trade Committee where UK and Indian leaders, innovators and entrepreneurs will meet to discuss how to take the bilateral partnership to the next level.
May also sought to set her trade delegation apart from the ones in the past led by her predecessor Cameron by highlighting the small and medium enterprise representation.
“In the past, the focus of trade delegations has been big businesses, but I want to take a new approach that recognises the full range of British business. So this time we will be focussing on small and medium sized businesses ? and, importantly, the delegation will include representation from every region of the UK.
“I want to create an economy that truly works for everyone ? and this new approach to international trade missions will help achieve just that,” May said.
The small and medium enterprises accompanying her will include Geolang, an innovative cyber security company based in Cardiff, Torftech, a creative energy company based in the South-East, and Telensa, a company focussed on smart city solutions based in Cambridge.
India is now the UK’s second largest international job creator. Last year, India created 7,105 new jobs in Britain through 140 projects, and in total Indian companies currently employ over 100,000 people in the UK.