India-UK free-trade deal expected in October

STORY: Britain and India agreed to step up defence and business cooperation on Friday (April 22).

During a visit to New Delhi, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said a free-trade deal could be signed by October.

He says that will help India sell more rice and textiles to Britain.

Johnson and Indian counterpart Narendra Modi also discussed ways to boost security ties.

"Our new and expanded defence and security partnership will enable India to strengthen its own domestic defence industry, as well as protecting vital shared interests in the Indo-Pacific.”

India’s foreign secretary said Johnson did not pressure Modi over the country’s position on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

India abstained from a United Nations vote condemning Russia’s incursion - which Moscow calls a ‘special military operation’.

India buys more than half of its military hardware from Russia.

But Johnson said he would take steps to ease exports of UK defense equipment to India, and help the country to develop its own weaponry.

Johnson’s visit comes during a domestic crisis over whether he is fit to lead the UK after he was fined by police for breaking lockdown rules.

But when asked whether he would still be Prime Minister by October, this was his reply.

"Considering the number of party investigations going on back home, are you absolutely sure you're still be prime minister then?"

"Okay. The second answer is yes."

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