The United Kingdom's new Prime Minister Boris Johnson has a special connection with India. His now-estranged wife Marina Wheeler is the daughter of reputed journalist Sir Charles Wheeler and Dip Singh. Before marrying her father, Wheeler's mother, Dip Singh, was married to renowned writer late Khushwant Singh's younger brother, Daljit Singh. After British Prime Minister Teresa May's resignation, Boris was a prominent choice to lead the country. The 55-year-old Tory MP won with a huge margin after securing 92,153 votes compared to his rival candidate Jeremy Hunt, who got 46,656 votes.
The ebullient Brexiteer, Boris Johnson has promised to lead Britain out of the European Union with or without a deal by Halloween (October 31). In his victory speech, the Conservative Party leader said his goal was to "deliver Brexit, unite the country and defeat (opposition Labour leader) Jeremy Corbyn - and that is what we are going to do." "We are going to get Brexit done," he added.
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In his open letter addressed to the Indian diaspora earlier this month, Boris described himself as the "son-in-law" of India and elaborated on his special connect with the country. Spelling out his plans for India, Boris said: "When I was with Prime Minister Modi, I stressed that the UK and India are two modern democracies who should work closely together to promote trade and prosperity, improve global security and tackle the challenges our countries face."
Stressing on the need of a new Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with India, Boris said: "The sooner we leave the EU and take back control of our trade policy, the sooner we can strike a new trade deal with India that will deliver new jobs, growth and prosperity for both our countries. Securing this new and improved trading relationship with our friends in India will be a priority for me."
He said India and Britain needed to "reinvent" themselves in a "static" market scenario. Boris also stressed on the need to increase trade with India, which he said had remained static.
"India is a massive static market for the UK, but I would also like to see India opening up to more of our great brands... Trade with China has gone up about 45 per cent in the last ten years. Trade with India has not increased, actually I think volumes have remained almost static. We need to do far more," he noted. He also said the UK needed to look at the mobility of professionals if the country would exit from the European Union.
He added that after Brexit, there would be a requirement of more professionals in the medical field, and India could fill the gap if both the countries address the issues mobility and short-term travel. Boris said India should be the UK's most important trading partner. "We share so many values with India the rule of law, democracy, and dynamic entrepreneurial spirit and I believe that is why India should be one of our most important partners on the global stage," he said in his open letter.
Edited by Manoj Sharma
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