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UK, India announce investment and migration agreements

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson meets Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at a bilateral meeting during the G7 summit in Biarritz, France August 25, 2019. (Reuters photo)

The United Kingdom and India have announced 1 billion pounds ($1.39 billion) of private-sector investment, including a 240 million pounds investment by the Serum Institute of India.

The announcement was made in a virtual meeting between British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday.

"The agreements we have made today mark the beginning of a new era in the UK-India relationship,” Johnson said in a statement. “The UK and India share many fundamental values... There is a living bridge uniting the people of our countries."

Trade between India and UK totals around 23 billion pounds annually, less than 5 percent of Britain’s trade with the European Union.

Following Brexit, the UK has sought to increase trade with countries outside the EU and, as the world's fifth largest economy, it views deeper ties with India, the sixth biggest, as a major part of its push to seek influence in the Indo-Pacific region and address increasing Chinese dominance.

The government in the UK set out 533 million pounds of Indian investment into Britain and 446 million pounds of export deals for British businesses.

According to the British government, the new trade and investment deals are expected to create over 6,500 jobs in the UK.

“Like every aspect of the UK-India relationship, the economic links between our countries make our people stronger and safer," Johnson said in a statement. “Each and every one of the more than 6,500 jobs we have announced today will help families and communities build back from coronavirus and boost the British and Indian economies.’’

The two countries also signed a new landmark migration agreement, which will see both London and New Delhi benefit from enhanced arrangements on migration issues.

Home Secretary Priti Patel and India’s Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar signed the Migration and Mobility Partnership agreement which aims to support people to live and work in both countries.

The deal also addresses long-standing problems of illegal migration from India to the UK.

“This landmark agreement with our close partners in the government of India will provide new opportunities to thousands of young people in the UK and India seeking to live, work and experience each other’s cultures. This agreement will also ensure that the British government can remove those with no right to be in UK more easily and crackdown on those abusing our system,” said Patel.

The British government says there are too many Indians living illegally in the UK, and India says tens of thousands who come to Britain to study are denied job opportunities.

The agreement aims to provide enhanced employment prospects for 3,000 young Indian professionals per year, in return for India agreeing to take back any of its citizens who are currently in the UK illegally.

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