UK expects to clinch Indian free trade agreement by year-end: PM Johnson

Britain intends to complete a free trade agreement with India by the end of the year, said British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who also stressed the need to reduce reliance on foreign oil and gas as a result of the Ukraine conflict.

"We're aiming to finish another free trade deal with India before the end of the year, by the autumn," Johnson said at the start of his two-day visit to the country in Gujarat, India's western state. India voted against a UN resolution criticising Russia's invasion of Ukraine, prompting worry among key Western countries.

Prior to his visit, Johnson's office stated that he would not discuss Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the subject. The conflict has been dubbed a "special operation" by Moscow. "India and Russia have had a completely different relationship historically than Russia and the United Kingdom in recent decades. We need to reflect that fact, but I'm sure I'll be talking to Narendra Modi about it "Johnson remarked.

Russia is a major supplier of defence equipment and oil to India. "Both India and the United Kingdom are concerned about autocracies around the world. We are both democracies that wish to work together "Johnson emphasised the importance of moving away from reliance on foreign hydrocarbons.

"One of the things we're talking about is what we can do to establish partnerships on hydrogen, electric vehicles, offshore wind... there's also the possibility of deepening our security and defence partnership."

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