Boris Johnson to try to put aside domestic problems on India trip

Boris Johnson to try to put aside domestic problems on India trip

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will try to put aside his domestic problems when he visits India this week on a trip to strengthen links between the two countries that have not seen eye to eye over the Ukraine crisis.

Johnson will be in India on Thursday with calls for his resignation ringing in his ears after he was fined for breaking his COVID 19 lockdown rules by attending a birthday party for him in Downing Street in June 2020.

Johnson and Johnson are going to set the record straight about gatherings in his office after Parliament returns from its Easter vacation on Tuesday. He had previously told lawmakers that there were no parties and guidance was always followed.

In details released late on Saturday, Johnson's office said that the British leader would use his trip to India to deepen relations, including in-depth talks with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Mod on the two nations' strategic defence, diplomatic and economic partnership. He will also push for progress in talks on a free trade deal, which Britain is hoping to strike as part of its post-Brexit strategy. His office said that a trade deal is predicted to boost Britain's total trade by up to 28 billion pounds $36.5 billion annually by the year 2035.

The visit will be overshadowed by disagreement over the Ukraine conflict.

Western allies have called for India to import arms from Russia to condemn Russian President Vladimir Putin in stronger terms, and U.S. President Joe Biden told Modi earlier this week that buying more oil from Russia was not in India's interest.

Britain was very disappointed in India's position last month, according to British trade minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan. Johnson's office did not make a direct reference to the conflict, although a source said it was expected that Ukraine would be discussed among other geopolitical issues.

He said that it is important that democracies and friends stick together as we face threats to our peace and prosperity from autocratic states. He had to cancel a planned trip to India last year because of the coronaviruses.

In May, the two countries announced a partnership with more than 530 million pounds of Indian investment into Britain, and Downing Street said Johnson was expected to announce further investment and new collaboration on cutting-edge science, health and technology.