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Snippets from UK: Britain May End RT-PCR Rule for Indians in October to Bump Up Off-season Tourism

UK may do away with mandatory RT-PCR test for Indian travellers. Representational pic/REUTERS

UK may do away with mandatory RT-PCR test for Indian travellers. Representational pic/REUTERS

From the UK-India trade deal looking distant to some unflattering climate statistics, a roundup of what's making news today.

No more testing times: Britain is considering an end to the RT-PCR test for travellers from India from October. A meeting to review measures is due on October 1. The UK will also consider dropping the mandatory tests on the second and eighth day after arrival that travellers currently have to pay for. This, however, comes in the period when travel to the UK begins to drop off.

Sub mission: A novel submarine transportation system being developed by an Indian-origin scientist has won an award in Britain’s Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition. The company Oceanways led by Dhruv Boruah has also won financial backing from a government fund. He is looking to develop submarines that pick up plastics from the ocean floor. A pilot route has been set between Glasgow in Scotland and Belfast in Northern Ireland.

Lowering expectations: Talks towards finalising a free trade deal between India and the UK are due to begin on November 1. The aim is at the moment rightly modest, to reach a limited “early harvest” deal by March 22. The goal is to go ahead at the earliest with implementation on a limited number of areas where some agreement seems possible. A fuller agreement is expected to take at least ten years to negotiate.

Truss trashed for failing to tie up trade deal: Outgoing trade secretary Liz Truss, now foreign secretary, is under fire from the opposition Labour Party for having failed to tie up a trade deal with India among others. Labour says the UK doesn’t have “a single completed deal we didn’t have inside the EU”. Shadow trade secretary Emily Thornberry has offered her successor Anne-Marie Trevelyan “a beginner’s guide to the mess she’s inherited”.

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Climate cloud over India: India’s position at the upcoming climate summit in Glasgow from November 1 faces another challenge after the Climate Action Tracker run by the New Climate Institute found India’s progress “highly insufficient”. The tracker only rated Gambia as compliant. India’s position at the bottom of the table along with China gives the UK hosts more ammunition to hit India with at the summit.

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first published:September 17, 2021, 21:25 IST