Boris Johnson in India, promising investment

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Boris Johnson in India, promising investment

Prime Minister Boris Johnson arrived in India Thursday, promising job-creating investment, but is facing long odds to get his reluctant counterpart Narendra Modi to back Western action against Russia.

Johnson arrived in western Gujarat Modi's home state where he is scheduled to meet business leaders and take a cultural tour of the historic Ahmedabad city, the ancestral home of half of the Anglo-Indian population in Britain.

Johnson will be back in New Delhi to meet his Indian counterpart on Friday, giving him some respite from the partygate controversy over his criminal violation of the pandemic lockdown rules.

Johnson will not be able to address a parliamentary vote on Thursday into whether he deliberately misled the House of Commons in previously denying any Downing Street rule-breaking matter.

The India trip has twice been postponed because of Covid flare-ups in each country, and was briefly in doubt this week when the vote was announced, with opposition leaders insisting Johnson stand down.

It was seen as too important to put off again, according to UK sources. Downing Street said that it would seal two-way investment deals worth more than 1 billion $1.3 billion and create more than 11,000 jobs in Britain.

Johnson told parliament before he flew out of London that he would deepen the strategic trade, defence and people-to-people ties between our two countries.

Downing Street said the visit would yield new partnerships on defence, artificial intelligence and green energy, along with investment deals in areas such as robotics, electric vehicles and satellite launches.

Johnson stated in a statement that the powerhouse partnership is delivering jobs, growth and opportunities for our people, and it will only go from strength to strength in the coming years.

London acknowledges that it is a way off the table when it comes to the post-Brexit trade deal with Modi's government, which wants more visas for Indians to work or study in the UK.

India has refused openly to condemn the Kremlin for its invasion of Ukraine, reliant on Russian imports of energy, agricultural goods and military hardware.

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss came away empty-handed from New Delhi last month when she pressed the Indians to do more against Russia, and Modi has also given short shrift to appeals from US President Joe Biden.

Johnson spokesman told reporters that Ukraine would feature in the summit talks on Friday. But he said the intention was not to lecture Modi but to broaden the Western coalition Johnson said that India moving more quickly towards renewable energy, although he was unable to say how the UK could help achieve that in the near term as Russia launches a new offensive in Ukraine.

Downing Street denies that, due to the war's impact on energy supplies, it is soft-pedalling its commitment to net zero emissions after India joined China to torpedo a stronger accord at the COP 26 climate summit held in Scotland last year.

The UK also has a large Sikh community, and its leaders have been demanding that Johnson raise the case of Scotsman Jagtar Singh Johal, who has been detained without trial in India for more than four years.