India said on Friday that talks with the United Kingdom are continuing in order to clinch a free trade agreement (FTA) as soon as possible while ensuring that both countries benefit.

The two countries had announced that they hoped to finish the FTA by Diwali, which is celebrated at the end of October, but there are already indications that this goal would not be realized.

The accord has struck stumbling blocks because of discrepancies between the two sides on issues such as automobiles and professional mobility, as well as UK home secretary Suella Braverman’s incendiary remarks against immigration.


While Bagchi declined to comment on Braverman’s previous remarks against the FTA on the basis that it would increase immigration to the UK, he did state that the “larger issue of mobility and consular matters” was a separate issue.

“There are ongoing FTA negotiations; there is interest on both sides to see if we can work towards a deal that is beneficial to both nations at an early date,” Arindam Bagchi, spokesperson for the External Affairs Ministry, said in response to a question at a weekly news briefing.

“There are understandings between both countries, and moving forward, this will need mutual application of these understandings,” he said, without elaborating. Bagchi noted that the FTA negotiations have not been suspended, but that an agreement is unlikely to be reached by the end of October.

Bagchi said that the UK side has stated that a “fair solution rather than an artificial deadline” is preferred.

Despite the fact that negotiations were proceeding smoothly, UK trade secretary Kemi Badenoch stated in London that the goal was no longer to complete a draft agreement by October 24. “We’re getting close. “One of the differences is that we no longer work to the Diwali deadline,” she told the BBC.

According to Badenoch, the two parties agreed on “a lot of chapters” of the negotiation document. “The negotiations are progressing well, but we want to put the deal’s quality over its speed. “Given the changes that have occurred, not just in administration, but also in the period of mourning (for the British monarch), it makes sense for us to focus on the deal rather than the day,” she explained.

Separately, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar talked on the phone with his British counterpart James Cleverly. “We addressed several aspects of our bilateral relationship and vowed to advance Roadmap 2030 as soon as feasible.” “Excited for an early in-person meeting,” Jaishankar tweeted.

Braverman’s remarks, notably one in which he expressed concern about having an “open borders migration policy with India” and claimed that Indian migrants were the largest group overstaying their visas, were not well received in New Delhi.

According to people familiar with the situation, the two sides’ disputes remained on the issue of professional and student mobility, which involves the lawful and temporary transfer of persons for valid reasons.

In response to UK Home Secretary Suella Braverman’s comments on Indians overstaying their visas, officials stated that the government is simply pursuing a simpler visa regime for businesses and professionals through the UK-EU free trade agreement.

Negotiations between India and the United Kingdom hit a snag over easier access to thousands of skilled workers, extending the agreement beyond its October deadline. In reaction to UK Home Secretary Suella Braverman’s concerns over Indian migration, India’s stance became tougher.

India is unlikely to provide large tariff discounts without visa privileges. Officials stated that concerns with the Liz Truss administration were contributing to the delay.

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