The role India has played during the coronavirus pandemic as the world’s pharmacy has been phenomenal, said British Minister Lord Tariq Ahmad as he prepared for a five-day visit to five cities in the world. ‘India from Monday.
Lord Ahmad, the Minister for South Asia at the British Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), highlighted the close collaboration between the two countries to secure the supply of COVID-19 vaccines, which is benefiting to countries around the world through the COVAX Installation.
“The role India has played as the world’s pharmacy has been phenomenal,” Lord Ahmad said in a virtual interview ahead of the visit on Friday.
“Our relationship with India is not only a relationship of bilateral importance, it is also about how these two countries work together and there is no better illustration than the current COVID-19 pandemic which grabbed. The strong collaboration we have seen between the UK and India responding across the globe, including through the COVAX facility which helps the world’s most vulnerable countries, ”he said.
“Likewise, we look forward to continued cooperation with India during her tenure as a member of the Security Council. Environment and climate change, healthcare, technology – the relationship between the UK and India is important in all these sectors and more, ”he added.
Lord Ahmad’s visit begins with ministerial meetings in Delhi and then covers Chandigarh, Chennai and Hyderabad before returning to the UK after trade and investment negotiations in Mumbai.
The minister said the tour “will address the important issues” of planning for the visit of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, which is expected in the coming weeks to finalize the much-anticipated enhanced trade partnership between the United Kingdom and India.
Mr Johnson’s visit to India is expected to be followed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the UK in June for the G7 summit in Cornwall, where India is one of the countries invited by Britain, host country.
“My very intensive and comprehensive program reflects the incredible diversity of India and all of its fantastic and amazing states and reflects the extended nature of the relationship and bilateral engagement we have with one of our close partners.” said the minister, whose father’s roots go back to Punjab and his mother’s to Rajasthan.
The visit will also coincide with the release of the UK’s main foreign policy statement in the form of an Integrated Review next week, which is expected to broadly confirm Britain’s decisive tilt in the Indo-Pacific in a post-Brexit era.
“It can be interpreted as being read as far as government policy is concerned, there is a very strong conviction and the emphasis is on the Indo-Pacific tilt and it is just that we do it. look at the countries in this part of the region, India is at the center of our concerns, ”said Mr. Ahmad.
Although the visit comes against the backdrop of a UK parliamentary committee room debate on the issue of farmers’ protests against India’s farm reforms earlier this week, the minister ruled out the issue overshadowing any way that this is his route because the long standing position of the British government. on the matter was clear.
“We have always been clear on issues such as these protests, it is an internal issue,” he said.
India reacted strongly to the debate as “blatant interference in the politics of another democratic country”, after which Foreign Minister Harsh Vardhan Shringla even summoned British High Commissioner to the United Kingdom Alex Ellis, a meeting which Lord Ahmad described as “very cordial”.
“Our position as a government is that the protests have been going on for several months now and that India, as a democracy, has fully guaranteed and guaranteed the right to protest, which we fully recognize. There have been occasions when people have sought to disrupt these protests. and it should be treated in accordance with the rule of law, ”he said.
Farmers, mostly from Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh, have camped at several Delhi border posts, including Tikri, Singhu and Ghazipur, since November 28, demanding full repeal of the three agricultural laws and a legal guarantee on the minimum support price. for their crops.