• Friday, April 12, 2024

Business

Modi keen on UK, Oman trade deals early in probable third term: report

Sources in the Indian government said that the PM has asked his ministries to set up annual objectives for the next five years that align with a 100-day action plan.

Indian prime minister Narendra Modi (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

By: Shubham Ghosh

IF he secures victory to become the prime minister for the third consecutive term, India’s Narendra Modi is expected to prioritize finalising free trade agreements with the UK and Oman within the first 100 days of the next government, two sources in his government have said.

Modi has instructed Indian ministries to establish annual objectives for the next five years that align with a 100-day action plan, as part of his efforts to chart a course for sustaining growth in Asia’s third-largest economy.

The trade ministry, among its goals for the 100-day plan, looks to include the agreements with the UK and Oman, as per the sources familiar with the discussions who chose to speak on the condition of anonymity. Negotiations for both deals are nearing completion.

Read: UK FTA talks close ahead of India’s 2024 election schedule

According to a document accessed by Reuters, the Indian prime minister identified earlier this month the task of integrating India into world trade as a key area during his talks with senior officials of the government.

Some of the objectives are set to be discussed on May 1, when India will be in the middle of its seven-phase election, set to kick off on April 19 with results due on June 4.

Read: Modi, Sunak reaffirm commitment to FTA in phone call

A spokesperson for Britain’s department for business and trade said the two countries were “continuing to work towards an ambitious trade deal”, Reuters added.

“Whilst we don’t comment on the details of live negotiations, we are clear that we will only sign a deal that is fair, balanced and ultimately in the best interests of the British people and the economy,” the official added.

Both countries have put on hold their two-year-long negotiations over the deal ahead of the elections in India, while reaffirming their commitment to a new pact to double their trade by 2030.

The UK is also set to go to elections later this year.

Last December, the trade ministers of India and Oman said during a meeting that they had asked their negotiators to wrap up talks on a comprehensive pact, to expedite signing of a deal.

Trade between the two Asian countries has more than doubled in two years to $12.39 billion in the last fiscal year.

(With Reuters inputs)

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