Jaishankar concludes UK visit

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On Friday, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar left London at the end of a four-day visit to the United Kingdom with a message of convergence as the two countries agreed on an ambitious '2030 Roadmap' towards a Free Trade Agreement (FTA).Addressing a virtual event titled 'India and the United Kingdom in a Post-COVID World' at the Policy Exchange think tank in London on Thursday evening, the minister reviewed the redefined contours of the UK-India relationship in the wake of the Virtual Summit between Prime Ministers Narendra Modi and Boris Johnson earlier in the week."Our prime ministers held a virtual summit that has truly redefined the contours of our relationship. They agreed on an ambitious roadmap for 2030 that sets forth their vision of cooperation in great detail, Underlying this exercise is a larger convergence at how we look at the world and grapple with issues that both nations deal with everyday.This is expressed in our working together in defence and security, in undertaking climate action and development partnerships, in responding to terrorism and radicalisation, or indeed, in how we approach pandemics and cyber challenges,"  said Jaishankar.Adding on from India's viewpoint, the minister also said  "Given the rebalancing and multipolarity that characterises the contemporary world order, it is natural for two powers such as us to explore greater convergence.That we have a shared past, may sometimes be a mixed blessing; but vision and will can certainly help put it to good use. The more objectively the two nations perceive each other's role and contribution in the larger arena, the stronger is the case for a serious strategic relationship," highlighting the many UKs that it seeks to engage simultaneously: the Global Britain, the Atlantic UK, the European one after Brexit, the City of London, the non-London UK, the diaspora one, the innovation and education UK, and the strategic and historical UKs.On a note of caution, he added: "We are complementary societies and economies who each have strengths relevant to the other. Bringing them together more effectively is to our mutual advantage. A 'Global UK' is probably more likely to do so than its previous incarnation, just as a 'New India' is more forward looking than previously.In that sense, we could be ready to approach each other with clearer heads and fresher eyes to realise a shared set of goals in a more turbulent world. But these will not be without challenges, because convergence is still not congruence. Our own inhibitions will be a factor, as also perhaps the growing complexity of world politics.”

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