• Sunday, November 27, 2022

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‘First Hindu UK Prime Minister a historic moment’: UK envoy to India over Rishi Sunak’s ascent to top post

By: Melvin Samuel

UK High Commissioner to India Alex Ellis termed the appointment of the first Hindu Prime Minister to the UK, Rishi Sunak, a “historic moment.”

“The election of the first Hindu PM of Britain is a historic moment,” says Alex Ellis, British High Commissioner to India, in Hindi. Envoy Ellis on Tuesday said that Rishi Sunak becoming UK Prime Minister is a sign of a “different United Kingdom that there is today” compared to the country in which he grew up. He said bilateral relations have been deepening and growing very fast since the UK left European Union.

“It’s a big day for the United Kingdom. We have a new Prime Minister. That Prime Minister is young. His grandparents came from India, his parents from East Africa and he’s a Hindu. This is a sign of the different United Kingdom that there is today compared to the country in which I grew up. So, it is quite a different country and it’s a big day to mark that,” Alex Ellis said in an exclusive interview with ANI.

“UK-India relations have been deepening and growing very fast since we left the European Union. That was the course set by Prime Minister Johnson with Prime Minister Modi through the comprehensive strategic partnership followed by Liz Truss and we’ll see what happens while we expect this government to pursue the same course as well,” he added.

Ellis said Prime Minister Rishi Sunak made it clear that the economy was going to be a top priority when he stood on the steps of Downing Street on Tuesday. He said the economy grows in various ways including through trade and investment. “India is a big investor in the UK, and the UK is a big investor in India. We want to double the trade by 2030.”

“A Free Trade Agreement(FTA) is an excellent way of doing that. It’s a long way to get to Free Trade Agreement. We’ve walked through the foothills, gone up the valley, and got to base camp and now we need to do this short and sharp ascent. I think both countries are determined to reach the summit,” the High Commissioner said.

“It takes two to tango. Negotiations going hard for under a year. It’s a short time for Free Trade Agreements but there’s a prize inside which is the strengthening of employment and growth in both countries. I think that’s what both PMs would want to achieve,” he added.

India and UK were keen to conclude FTA by Diwali and negotiations are continuing between the two countries. Rishi Sunak on Tuesday became UK’s first Indian-origin British Prime Minister after being invited by King Charles III to form a government. Sunak met the king at Buckingham Palace.


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