There is a “political will” in both India and the UK to reach an agreement on trade and other issues post-Brexit, the Indian envoy to the UK has said.
Speaking to the members of the Indian Journalists Association, Indian high commissioner to the UK Y K Sinha referred to several high-level visits from India to the UK including that of finance minister Arun Jaitley.
He also referred about the proposed visits of Britain’s Chancellor of Exchequer Philip Hammond, defence secretary Michael Fallon, energy secretary Greg Clark, minister of state for culture Karen Bradley and secretary of state for international development Priti Patel to India in the next couple of months and said “it reflected the vibrant and robust relations we have.”
Describing Brexit as a great moment, Sinha said “it is an opportunity and challenge for India – in the post-Brexit era.” Emphasising that no formal discussions could be held till Brexit becomes a reality sometime in March 2019, the High Commissioner said “we will be monitoring what will be happening.”
Sinha said: “There is a political will on both the sides to reach an agreement on trade and other issues.”
Answering questions, he said “both the sides will have their wish-list. As far as India is concerned the question of free-movement of Indian professionals in the UK is a priority.
Our expectation is that Indian IT professionals come here freely and return.”
Noting that the number of Indian students coming to study in the UK has gone down considerably, he said one of the reasons is that Britain has restricted post-study work visa to four months as against two years in the US.
Another reason is closing down of some of the “bogus colleges.”
The number of Indian students studying in other countries like the US, Canada and Australia has gone up.
“Since the UK is boasting of having some of the best higher learning institutions, it is a matter of concern for them as well,” Sinha said.
He said that the next couple of years are going to be “particularly exciting”.
The Commonwealth Heads of Government (CHOGM) will be taking place in the UK in April next year and India will be the “flavour of the year this year as it is celebrating the Year of Culture here.”