Boris Johnson in India LIVE Updates: UK Prime Minister arrived in Ahmedabad on Friday morning for a two-day India visit that will focus on not just commercial deals but also the situation in the Indo-Pacific region with a special focus on the Russia-Ukraine war. Johnson will start his visit in Gujarat, where he is scheduled to visit the Gujarat Biotechnology University and a factory, and interact with top business leaders, and then travel to New Delhi, where he will hold talks with his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi on Friday. Johnson’s interactions will also focus on the centrality of India in the rise of the Indo-Pacific, in keeping with the priority attached to India in the UK’s integrated review of defence, security and foreign policy in 2021, people aware of the developments said.
While the Russian invasion of Ukraine is set to figure in Johnson’s interactions, it is expected that the British prime minister will take the same line that foreign secretary Liz Truss had during her visit last month — that the UK is not in the business of lecturing or telling other countries what to do. Johnson is expected to set out the British position on Ukraine and hear the Indian side so that there is a better understanding of each other’s positions.
On Wednesday, PM Johnson said that the visit would deepen UK-India ties, and 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. “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.
Here are the live updates from the visit:
• The UK and Indian businesses are set to announce investments and export deals worth over £1 billion, in areas from software engineering to health. Science and tech collaborations, including a digital health partnership and a joint investment fund for Indian deep-tech and AI start-ups, supported by both the governments; new AI scholarships for Indian students jointly funded by the UK government’s Chevening programme and India’s Adani Group; and a £6 million investment by AI healthcare specialists Qure.ai to open a centre of excellence in the UK are set to be announced.
• In Ahmedabad, Johnson visited the Gandhi Ashram, and will later go to Gujarat Biotechnology University, Akshardham temple in Gandhinagar and also a plant of JCB company at Halol near Vadodara city, sources told PTI. He is also expected to hold a closed-door meeting with a “leading businessman from the state”, PTI reported.
• “It is an immense privilege to come to the Ashram of this extraordinary man, and to understand how he mobilised such simple principles of truth and non-violence to change the world for the better”, Johnson wrote in his message at Gandhi Ashram, Ahmedabad.
• Ahead of Johnson’s two-day visit, Downing Street 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.