External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar. PTI File

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar has commenced a five-day visit to the UK with the goal of evaluating various aspects of bilateral relations and revitalising the friendly ties between the two nations.

During his trip in the UK, Jaishankar is set to participate in an event at Lord’s Cricket Ground and deliver remarks at a Diwali Reception organised by the High Commission of India in London on Monday.

Later in the week, he is expected to participate in a repatriation ceremony for two ancient temple sculptures from Uttar Pradesh and engage in a discussion on the theme of ‘How a billion people see the world.’

Discussions with his UK counterpart, James Cleverly, are anticipated to include preparations for a potential visit to India by British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in the coming months.

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) had previously announced, “External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar will be on an official visit to the United Kingdom from November 11-15.”

“India and the UK have a growing bilateral partnership. During his visit, the external affairs minister will be holding discussions with his counterpart, Foreign Secretary James Cleverly and will meet several other dignitaries,” it said in a statement.

The MEA also referred to the “warm and thriving” relationship between the two sides.

The India-UK Comprehensive Strategic Partnership was launched in 2021 along with the India-UK Roadmap 2030 that seeks to expand ties in a range of areas.

“The roadmap is a commitment to a partnership that delivers for both the countries. The External Affairs Minister’s visit will give a new impetus to the friendly ties between the two countries,” the MEA said.

India and the UK have been negotiating a free trade agreement (FTA) since January last year with a target to significantly enhance the estimated GBP 36-billion bilateral trading partnership. The talks have undergone 13 rounds of negotiations, with officials hopeful of clinching a deal ahead of general elections in both countries scheduled for 2024.

With inputs from agencies

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