Prime minister Modi at the G20 summit
INDIAN Prime minister Narendra Modi and British Prime minister Theresa May agreed on Monday (September 5) to look into how their respective countries will retain strong trading links after the United Kingdom leaves the European Union (EU), a British official has revealed.
The official said: “The Indians said they wanted to look at how we could continue to have a strong trading relationship and there was agreement that as we prepare to leave the EU, we should be exploring what that looks like.”
“Prime minister Modi said that we had always been an important partner for India and nothing about leaving the European Union would change that.”
The two leaders were meeting for the first time on the sidelines of the G20 summit in the Chinese city of Hangzhou.
May was only sworn in as Britain’s second female prime minister on July 13, succeeding David Cameron who resigned after the UK voted in favour of exiting the EU. The former prime minister had campaigned against Britain’s departure from the trade bloc and resigned as a result of the vote to leave.
Indian officials took to social media to highlight the first meeting between the two leaders.
“Building opportunities with the United Kingdom. PM @narendramodi meets PM @theresa_may for their first bilateral,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup tweeted.
The pair had in fact been in contact earlier by telephone when Modi called on July 27 to congratulate May on her arrival in office and to affirm India’s commitment to further strengthen the strategic bilateral partnership between their two countries.
During that exchange May pledged to work closely with India and said she looked forward to developing stronger ties and enhanced cooperation.
Enhancing cooperation has been a theme of the Indian prime minister at the G20. Earlier at the summit Modi said that fighting corruption, black money and tax-evasion were central to effective financial governance and added: “We need to act to eliminate safe havens for economic offenders, [and] track down and unconditionally extradite money launderers.”