LONDON — The British Prime Minister will scale back an upcoming trip to India as infections in the country rocket.
Boris Johnson was expected to travel to India in the last week of April for several days, along with officials and journalists. Now, as the public health crisis worsens in the nation, the U.K. leader will cut his trip short, according to a government spokesperson.
The planned visit will still include a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the government spokesperson said, but “it will be a shorter program in New Delhi,” focused on “high-level discussions with the Indian government and Indian business leaders”. The bulk of meetings are expected to take place on April 26, they said.
The mission had been billed as a key part of the U.K.’s efforts to clinch closer trade ties with the Asian nation.
It is aimed at securing an enhanced trade partnership, a step along the road towards a fuller free trade agreement in several years’ time.
Several British prime ministers have sought to seek closer trade ties with India, but U.K. officials and industry leaders familiar with recent bilateral discussions said that the groundwork for this trip was more substantial and built on greater India-U.K. business engagement.
U.K. business leaders had, however, already expressed disappointment that plans to take a trade delegation of industry experts had to be shelved due to public health concerns. The trip has already been delayed once: it was originally intended to take place in late January.
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