New Delhi, May 5 (PTI) British High Commissioner Alex Ellis on Wednesday said the provisions of an ambitious migration and mobility partnership with India will be implemented under an efficient mechanism and the focus would be to ensure its expeditious execution.
His comments came a day after the two sides inked the India-UK migration and mobility partnership that provides for enhanced employment opportunities for around 3,000 Indian professionals annually, but mandates New Delhi to take back the Indians who have been staying illegally in Britain.
The pact was among the nine agreements finalised between the two countries as Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his British counterpart Boris Johnson vowed to significantly boadbase bilateral ties during a virtual summit on Tuesday. At a media briefing, Ellis said the provisions of the migration and mobility partnership will be implemented under an efficient mechanism and that the UK wants its quick implementation.
But at the same time, he added, the process has to be carried forward ensuring that it is legally correct. Indian government sources said that illegal migration was an irritant in ties between the two countries and the UK seemed to be having a perception that India did not want to take back its nationals who are staying illegally in that country. They said the UK’s perception was not correct and that India never supported illegal migration. “We will take back (people) as long as non-Indians do not claim Indian citizenship,” said a source.
Joint Secretary in the Europe West division in the Ministry of External Affairs Sandeep Chakravorty said after the summit that Indian nationals who are undocumented or are in distress abroad and not being given nationality or residence permits have to be taken back.
On overall bilateral ties, Ellis said the outcomes of the Modi-Johnson summit marked a transformation in the relationship as they paved the way for expansion of cooperation in a range of areas like trade and investment, climate change and migration.
At the summit, Modi and Johnson also unveiled a ‘Roadmap 2030’ to elevate ties to a comprehensive strategic partnership and announced enhanced trade cooperation. Under the trade partnership, the two sides are to begin negotiations later this year for a balanced free trade agreement including an interim pact for delivering early gains. “The summit and the agreements have marked a transformation in the UK-India relationship,” he said.
The envoy said the process of starting the FTA talks may take about 12 weeks of consultations on the British side. Ellis said the summit reflected the resolve of both sides to make a new beginning of deeper cooperation in a plethora of areas. Asked about two members of the Indian delegation attending the G7 foreign ministers’ meeting in London testing positive for COVID-19, the high commissioner did not give a direct reply.
“These are questions better answered by my colleagues in London,” he said, adding there are laid down protocols in dealing with such situations. He said the approach by the UK authorities will be guided by the advice of Public Health England. To a query on distribution in India of COVID-19 medical aid provided by the UK, he said the supplies were brought in as specified by the Indian authorities.
He said the issue of medical aid is being coordinated through the Indian government as well as through the Indian Red Cross Society.
Ellis said the Indian authorities are in a better position to decide where the supplies are sent. On the coronavirus situation in India, he said Britain had also faced a similar scenario.