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British negotiators are aiming to secure a trade deal with India “by Diwali in October”, following Boris Johnson’s trip to meet with his counterpart Narendra Modi.

As talks enter their fourth round in India this week, the PM is hopeful of a quick trade deal to boost UK exports of whisky, cars and professional services.

The Indian PM said he hoped for a trade agreement “by the end of the year”, and that he wanted India to move with the same “speed and commitment” shown in deals with Australia and the United Arab Emirates, reports the FT.

Rice, textiles and visas

In return, India wants to see increases in its exports of rice and textiles, as well as improved access for its citizens to work in the UK.

Modi referred to the “living bridge” between the two countries, with 1.6m people of Indian origin living in the UK.

“We would like to see a further strengthening of this living bridge,” he said.

The two PMs progressed several schemes to increase the flow of students and professionals between the two countries, including plans to let UK universities open branches in India.

IT skills needed

The Guardian reports that Johnson is willing to offer more visas in areas where the UK has skills shortages, such as IT.

“Some estimates say we are hundreds of thousands of people short. So what you can have is controlled migration, which allows you to bring in talented people who can really help your economy,” he said.

Defence exports

Discussions also focused on defence and ways to boost security ties with India, which currently buys more than half of its military hardware from Russia, reports CNBC.

The UK announced that it would liberalise arms exports to India as the countries deepen their cooperation of defence.

The government will issue an open general export licence for India, which will mean separate licences are not needed for individual contracts.

Only the EU and the US currently have such licences.

Boosting security

The Independent reports that the UK will work with India to boost security across the five domains of land, sea, air, space and cyber.

This will involve an offer of British help to support new Indian-designed and built fighter jets, as well as support for new technology to identify and respond to threats in the Indian Ocean.