India and the United Kingdom are committed to an enhanced trade partnership as the first step towards a positive free trade agreement (FTA) in future and plans are expected to be further formalised during the visit of Prime Minister Boris Johnson to India in the coming months, British minister for South Asia Lord Tariq Ahmad said recently.

Ahmad, who is also minister for the Commonwealth in the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), said the strong relationship between the two countries has been further intensified with vaccine collaboration to help fight COVID-19.

Ahmad said this during an interaction to mark India’s 72nd Republic Day celebrations. He indicated that several practical steps in the shape of business-to-business relations, which fully utilise the under-leveraged Indian diaspora in the United Kingdom, are also in the works.

Alongside, a real professional partnership that takes on board the mobility of skilled professionals and students between the two countries will be at the heart of a further strengthened bilateral relationship for a post-Brexit global Britai, he ws quoted as saying by a news agency.

India is a strategic partner and we look forward to working closer together within the Commonwealth as we look towards Kigali (Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Rwanda in June), he added.

According to latest FCDO data, UK-India bilateral trade increased by over 11 per cent to nearly 24 billion pounds and the UK was the largest European market for India’s goods exports in the 2019-20 financial year.