India, UK looking at possible visit of PM Sunak to New Delhi soon

New Delhi: India and the UK are looking at a possible visit to New Delhi by British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak soon but it may finally depend on whether the two sides could resolve the remaining differences to firm up the much-awaited free trade agreement (FTA), people familiar with the matter said on Monday.

The two sides were exploring the possibility of having the visit around October 28 but nothing has been finalised yet, they said, suggesting that the visit is linked to the finalisation of the ambitious FTA.

The two sides are learnt to have finalised around 24 of the 26 chapters in the FTA and are now looking at sealing it by bridging differences on certain contentious issues, including mobility of people and import duty concessions on certain items, they said.

“I have requested the present chairman, Jayaprakash Hegde, to submit the report to the government. If he submits the report, we will definitely issue the report,” Siddaramaiah added.

Jayaprakash had last week said he would submit the caste census report to the state government in November.

“When the Kantharaj-headed commission gave the report, the then chief minister Kumaraswamy did not take it. Now, there is a different chairman for the commission. I have asked him to submit the report filed by Kantharaj as it is. He has said the report will be given in November, let us see,” Siddaramaiah told reporters last week.