Boris Johnson will visit India next week

AA / New Delhi / Ahmad Adel

India’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Sunday that British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will pay a two-day visit to India next week.

The British PM’s visit comes at a time when India’s neutral stance on the Ukraine-Russia crisis has prompted a series of visits by world figures to the country.

India’s ministry said in a statement that “Johnson will visit India at the invitation of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi for bilateral discussions”, without setting a date to start the visit.

“India and the UK have a historic and longstanding relationship which has been elevated to the level of a comprehensive strategic partnership at the Virtual Bilateral Summit in 2021,” the statement added.

Prior to the trip, Johnson said in a statement released on Sunday that “at a time when we face threats to our security and prosperity from despotic nations, it is imperative that democracy and friends stay together.

The British Prime Minister underlined that “India, as a major economic power and the largest democracy in the world, is the UK’s preferred strategic partner in these difficult times”.

He added that his visit to India would “deliver things that are really important to the citizens of both countries, including job opportunities, economic development and energy security.”

Referring to Johnson’s expected visit, Vivka Mishra, a researcher at the Observer Foundation in New Delhi, told AA that “the Ukraine issue will definitely be on the agenda of the visit.”

Meanwhile, a former Indian diplomat told Anadolu Agency that India takes an “independent” position on Ukrainian affairs.

“Our country is positioning itself on the side of peace and reconciliation and this position is taken into account by all, against the backdrop of global aspirations for the role New Delhi can play on the international scene after the Ukraine crisis and during the post-pandemic. phase.

Since the start of Russia’s military operation in Ukraine, New Delhi has called for identifying a peaceful solution to the crisis, while refraining from publicly or openly criticizing Moscow.

On the other hand, Britain imposed a series of economic sanctions against Russia while supplying weapons to Ukraine.

The announcement of Johnson’s visit to India comes after Moscow imposed sanctions on 13 former and current senior British officials, most notably Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Secretary of State for Defense, Ben Wallace, according to a press release announced on Saturday by Russian diplomacy.

On February 24, Russia launched a military attack on Ukraine, which resulted in international resistance and heavy economic sanctions against Moscow.

Russia put forward as a precondition for ending its operations the refusal by Ukraine of plans to join a military entity and to display a status of neutrality, the latter of which is considered an “interference in its sovereignty”.

*Translated from Arabic by Hatem Kattou

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