Saturday, July 13, 2024

India-UK ties: Pursue that free trade deal

It’s indeed reassuring that talks between India and the UK over a free trade agreement that has been in the works have not stalled. These negotiations are “going on as we speak,” India’s finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman said at an event in Washington. Negotiations are also underway with the EU and Canada, she added. 

Earlier, there had been reports in some of the British media that India had suspended trade talks, demanding that UK authorities denounce the recent attack on the Indian High Commission in London by Khalistani flag wavers. Had that been true, it would have been unfortunate. Such agreements are important to boost trade as new alignments take shape across the world. 

As far as possible, economic matters should not be mixed with other issues, especially when it involves countries with which we’ve generally had warm relations. No doubt, British law enforcers need to do better in keeping mobs off the premises of our diplomatic mission there. But commercial ties cannot be allowed to snap over a stray British failure on that front. In world affairs, we must always keep what’s important in focus. May our trade ties thrive. Both countries will benefit.

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