PM reported to be mulling second India trip this year after G20, fueling further FTA speculation

Wed 6 Sept 2023
Posted by: William Barns-Graham
Trade News

India UK flags

While it is unlikely that the UK and India will sign a much-anticipated trade deal at the G20 summit in New Delhi this month, a possible second visit to the country from prime minister Rishi Sunak later this year suggests that a deal is nonetheless close to completion.

Sunak is due to travel to India for the first time since becoming the UK’s leader this weekend, and lobbyists and officials have told Politico that 10 Downing Street is putting plans together for late October or early November.

The visit would also coincide with an England versus India cricket game on 29 October in Lucknow, with Sunak known to be an avid fan of the sport.

Progressing

“No one's booking flights yet, but there are plans being made to have a bilateral visit,” a senior business representative told Politico. “I don't think you do a bilateral visit if you're not ready to announce the trade deal.”

A spokesperson for Sunak told Reuters that the PM had told Cabinet on Tuesday that talks were progressing well.

"He said negotiations around a free trade deal were progressing and that he would only agree an approach which worked for the whole UK," they said.

G20 ‘not the place’

There had been hopes that a deal could be secured and announced in time for Sunak’s appearance at the G20 summit which starts on Saturday.

However, officials told the Guardian that the summit was “not the time and the place” to conclude the talks.

Could India change its name?

The G20 summit comes amid reports that India is considering changing its name.

The Daily Mail reports that Indian leader Narendra Modi had used the Sanskrit name for the country, ‘Bharat’, in place of the usual English name on invitations issued to fellow