The UK and India have reached an agreement on a new £1 billion trade and investment deal that will increase economic ties between the two nations and create more than 6,500 jobs in the UK.
UK prime minister Boris Johnson and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi agreed the details of the new Enhanced Trade Partnership in a virtual meeting on Tuesday 4th May, which replaced face-to-face talks in New Delhi that were cancelled following India's latest Covid-19 outbreak.
As well as securing new investment and export deals for both countries, the agreement will remove several barriers to trade between the nations, including lifting restrictions on the import of British fruit.
It will also improve access to medical devices by ensuring that India will now accept UK Certificates of Free Sale. This will remove the requirement for UK medical devices to receive additional accreditation when exporting to the Indian market.
The UK government added that this is only the start of greater cooperation between the two countries and will help pave the way for a comprehensive UK-India Free Trade Agreement in the future.
As part of the deal India's Serum Institute, which is the world's largest producer of vaccines, will invest £240 million into its UK operations to support clinical trials, research and development, and potentially the future manufacturing of vaccines.
Elsewhere, UK firms are said to have secured more than £446 million of new export deals to India. This includes a £200 million agreement for CMR Surgical to export its next-generation Versius surgical robotics system to hospitals in India.
Mr Johnson said: "In the decade ahead, with the help of the new partnership signed today and a comprehensive Free Trade Agreement, we will double the value of our trading partnership with India and take the relationship between our two countries to new highs."
Currently, trade between the UK and India is worth around £23 billion a year. However, BBC News noted that the UK actually exports less to India's 1.4 billion consumers than it does to Belgium, with a population of less than 12 million.