Mon, 30 Jan 2023

London [UK], November 29 (ANI): Delivering his first major address on UK Foreign Policy, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on Monday emphasized the importance of a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with India that aims to strengthen the domestic economy.

This comes as India and UK are engaged in FTA negotiations, which began in January this year, aiming to advance trade and investment relations between them. Both countries currently have a multi-dimensional strategic partnership and actively engage in bilateral trade.

"By 2050, the Indo-Pacific will deliver over half of global growth...compared with just a quarter from Europe and North America combined. That's why we're joining the Trans-Pacific trade deal, the CPTPP, delivering a new FTA with India, and pursuing one with Indonesia," Sunak said in his address at the Lord Mayor's Banquet at London's Guildhall.

On the world's second-largest economy, Sunak asserted that the "golden era" between Britain and China is "now over" and that it is time to evolve the approach towards China as the country is posing a systemic challenge to UK's values and interest with its authoritarian rule.

He also criticized the human rights abuses taking place in China while putting forward his stance on foreign policy.

"Let's be clear, the so-called 'golden era' is over, along with the naive idea that trade would lead to social and political reform. We recognise China poses a systemic challenge to our values and interests, a challenge that grows more acute as it moves towards even greater authoritarianism," the UK PM said in his address.

In his speech, Sunak also extended support to Ukraine saying that the UK stands with the war-ravaged country. He said that Britain is also reinvigorating its European relationships to tackle challenges like security and tackling migration.

The UK Prime Minister also expressed concern over the ongoing protests in China against COVID lockdowns. Highlighted the recent arrest of the BBC reporter in China, Sunak said that instead of listening to people's concerns, the Chinese government "has chosen to crack down further".

Thousands of protesters took to the streets of Shanghai, where people were being bundled into police cars. Students have also demonstrated at universities in Beijing and Nanjing. (ANI)

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