Britain’s newest Indian-origin Cabinet minister, Claire Coutinho, emphasized the shared energy and climate change goals between the two countries in her first major community speech as UK Secretary of State for Energy and Net Zero.
The 38-year-old Goan-origin Conservative MP, promoted by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in a recent Cabinet reshuffle, expressed the importance of the India-UK partnership and the potential for further collaboration in the climate action sphere at a community Diwali reception organised by India Global Forum (IGF) in London.
“The relationship, that living bridge that we have with India, is so valuable because we share so many goals, and energy and climate change is no different. The innovation, the people, the finance expertise, the brilliant technologies that we are working across borders is hugely important to us to make sure that we can achieve our goal together,” she said.
From the Labour Party, shadow secretary for Business and Trade Jonathan Reynolds highlighted the Opposition’s commitment to the ongoing negotiations towards an India-UK free trade agreement (FTA).
India and the UK have been negotiating an FTA since January last year, to significantly boost the bilateral relationship. However, the talks have missed a few expected completion points, and with both countries headed into a general election year in 2024, there is a growing question mark around it being achieved under the current leadership.
“We cannot allow this relationship to become a political football that is tossed around in the political arena. I am therefore so pleased that, as every year, we have representatives from both the main political parties,” said IGF Founder and CEO Manoj Ladwa.
At the annual Diwali event, attended by cross-party parliamentarians, diplomats, entrepreneurs and business chiefs, Indian High Commissioner to the UK Vikram Doraiswami expressed the exciting opportunity to leverage technology and deploy it at scale in India through partnerships.