UK’s new visa policy could impact Indians, PM tells May

RSTV Bureau
Hangzhou: Prime Minister Narendra Modi with UK Prime Minister Theresa May  during a bilateral meeting at the G20 summit in Hangzhou, China, September 5, 2016. Photo - PTI

Hangzhou: Prime Minister Narendra Modi with UK Prime Minister Theresa May during a bilateral meeting at the G20 summit in Hangzhou, China, September 5, 2016.
Photo – PTI

Britain’s new visa policy could have a “negative impact” on Indian working professionals’ short term business visits to the UK, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday told his British counterpart Theresa May during the first meeting after she became Premier.

Meeting on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Hangzhou, the two Prime Ministers also discussed further enhancement of bilateral defence partnership, External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup said.

“Prime Minister also touched on UK’s visa policy. In particular, he said that the new UK regulations could have negative impact on Indian working professionals wishing to visit UK for short term business visits,” Swarup said.

The Prime Minister invited British firms to ‘Make in India’ as both leaders also looked forward to an early visit by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar to the UK, he said.

During the meeting, Modi also spoke about challenges of terrorism, which he said is the “biggest threat to the world and knows no boundaries”. He alluded to May’s previous stint as Home Secretary and said she was well aware of the dangers of terrorism, Swarup told the press.

PM Modi said that the recent meeting of the India-UK joint group on counter terrorism was very useful and called for greater collaboration in cyber security and intelligence sharing besides information gathering.

May said she was very keen to support Prime Minister Modi’s vision for India and the broader strategic partnership including the decisions taken during his successful visit to Britain last November.

She also underlined the importance Britain attaches to the Indian diaspora.

This was their first face-to-face meeting between the two leaders after May took over as the Prime Minister following the resignation of David Cameron after Britain’s exit from the European Union. “The Prime Minister underlined that even after the Brexit, the UK remained as important to India as before,” he said.

The fact that she had deputed three Ministers to India Preeti Patel, Alok Sharma, and Greg Clarke showed the priority she attached to India, Swarup said.

The Prime Minister also referred to passage of GST bill, which he said would further boost trade and investment ties with UK, Swarup said

Modi also invited May to visit India in her new capacity. May accepted the invitation and said she would like to make as early a visit to India as possible.

(With inputs from the PTI)