Modi, Sunak agree to ‘work at pace’ towards FTA at G20 bilateral meet

London/New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his British counterpart Rishi Sunak on Saturday agreed to continue to work at pace towards a “landmark” free trade agreement (FTA) during their bilateral meeting on the margins of the G20 Leaders’ Summit in New Delhi.

A readout from 10 Downing Street of the meeting said that cooperation in the field of defence technology, innovation and some consular issues were among the topics on the agenda of the meeting.

Prime Minister Modi is also said to have highlighted the “warm reception” that Sunak has received during his first visit to India as British Prime Minister.

“The leaders had a productive conversation about negotiations on a UK-India Free Trade Agreement,” a Downing Street spokesperson said.

“The Prime Minister [Sunak] reiterated the UK’s ambition to deliver a landmark trade deal which benefits businesses and workers in both countries and grows our trade in both goods and services. They agreed that ministers and negotiating teams would continue to work at pace towards an FTA,” the spokesperson said.

Sunak, who arrived here on Friday, held talks with Modi after the first session of the G20 Summit. Earlier, Sunak greeted Modi with a namaste as the latter received him at the venue.

In a post on X after the meeting, Modi said, “Great to have met PM @RishiSunak on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Delhi. We discussed ways to deepen trade linkages and boost investment.” India and the UK will keep working for a prosperous and sustainable planet, Modi said.

Sunak is said to have congratulated Prime Minister Modi on India’s “consummate presidency” of the G20 this year, which he said had demonstrated the country’s “vital global leadership and influence”.

“The leaders reflected on the close and growing ties between the UK and India, exemplified in the ‘living bridge’ between our people. They agreed it was important to build on the past and focus on the future, cementing a modern partnership in cutting-edge defence technology, trade and innovation. They also discussed a number of consular issues,” the spokesperson said.

In an indication that another visit by the British Indian leader may not be far off, Downing Street said both leaders “welcomed the opportunity to meet again in person”.

“The Prime Minister congratulated Prime Minister Modi again on delivering a successful G20 Summit,” the spokesperson added.