British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Tuesday described the UK and India as "natural partners" who are working together on many "fantastic projects" from partnership on 5G and telecom to startups that will transform people's lives and promote the principles of freedom, openness and peace.
In his special address to the 2021 Global Technology Summit via video link, Johnson said that over the coming decade, India and the UK will continue to deepen their bonds on technology and other areas as they have set out in the 2030 India-UK roadmap.
The 2030 Roadmap for stronger UK-India strategic ties was signed by Johnson and Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a virtual summit in May this year.
“With our shared culture of innovation and our entrepreneurial spirit, the UK and India are natural partners. We're working together on many fantastic projects, from the UK-India partnership on 5G and telecom to the UK startups who are working with India giants,” the prime minister said.
“Working side-by-side, we will not only make breakthroughs that will transform people's lives, but we'll help shape a new technology based on the principles of freedom, openness and peace,” Johnson said in his special address to the 6th annual Global Technology Summit.
The summit was co-hosted by the non-governmental organisation Carnegie India along with the Ministry of External Affairs on the theme of Global Meets Local.
“We know that a huge advantage awaits us with Artificial Intelligence and quantum computing and with technology poised to help us find answers to some of humanity’s biggest challenges.
“That’s why I was so pleased earlier this year when my friend Prime Minister Narendra Modi and I agreed that our two countries should work closer than ever before on technology and the roles that will help us shape the coming age,” the British prime minister said.
Addressing the summit via video link, UK foreign secretary Liz Truss said that hostile forces use technology to gain the upper hand.
“That’s why freedom-loving democracies need to step-up to shape global technologies and champion our interest,” she said.
Truss also said that India and the UK are natural partners.
"Every time I visit India or meet Indian businesses, I am reminded of what natural partners we are. We're open to the world as outward looking nations, which is why the UK is India’s 2nd largest investment destination,” she said.
Across Britain, Indian giants from Infosys to Tata are growing their businesses. Meanwhile British brands are selling India high-quality goods and services like fintech, clean technologies, she said.
“Such openness to business and opportunity is why we are able to tackle the greatest challenges of our time. For example, we saw the peak of the pandemic… teamed up with our NHS to create a tele-medicine trial system. It was a bold step, we saved hundreds of lives,” Truss said.
“Our openness to enterprises and tech businesses are flourishing that are based in our nations,” she said.
The UK is home to the third largest tech unicorns in the world while India has the third largest number of tech firms, according to Truss.
“By harnessing the full potential of free enterprise and technology, we drive forward economic recovery and human progress,” she added.
Johnson’s remarks at the summit came over a month after he met Prime Minister Modi in Glasgow on the sidelines of the COP26 climate summit and discussed ways to enhance bilateral cooperation in areas like green hydrogen, renewables and clean technology, economy and defence.
That was the first in-person meeting between Modi and Johnson following the British Prime Minister’s twice cancelled visit to India earlier this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The two prime ministers had reviewed the implementation of the Roadmap 2030 priorities particularly in the trade and economy, people-to-people, health, defence and security areas.