Prevent misuse of democratic freedoms: Jaishankar tells visiting UK minister

New Delhi:  External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Monday asked visiting British Minister Lord Tariq Ahmad to ensure security of India’s diplomatic missions in the UK and prevent misuse of democratic freedoms.

Jaishankar’s assertions during a meeting with Lord Ahmad, the Minister of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, came against the backdrop of the vandalisation of the Indian High Commission in London in March by pro-Khalistan supporters.

Jaishankar took to Twitter to share the issues he raised during his discussions with Lord Ahmad.

“Met with UK MOS Lord Tariq Ahmad today in New Delhi… Underlined the obligation to ensure security of our diplomatic missions and prevent misuse of democratic freedoms,” the External Affairs Minister said.

In April, the Union Home Ministry had handed over the probe in the case of attack on the Indian mission in London to the National Investigation Agency after a meeting with representatives from Britain.

Jaishankar said he also discussed a broad range of issues ranging from the Free Trade Agreement and South Asia to Indo-Pacific and G20 with the visiting minister.

India and the UK have had nine rounds of negotiations of the free trade agreement (FTA).

India and the UK have been negotiating an FTA since January last year, with a goal towards a comprehensive pact that is expected to significantly enhance the bilateral trading relationship worth an estimated GBP 34 billion in 2022.

Recently, Britain’s Chief Negotiator for the FTA – Harjinder Kang – was appointed the country’s new Trade Commissioner to South Asia and Deputy High Commissioner for Western India, based in Mumbai.

According to UK government statistics, India was the UK’s 12th largest trading partner in the four quarters to the end of Q3 2022, accounting for 2.1 per cent of total UK trade.