Boris Johnson's India visit cancelled amid COVID-19 crisis
London : Amid rising number of daily coronavirus cases in India, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson cancelled his April 25 visit. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Britih counterprt will now hold a virtual meeting later this month, the Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement.
"In view of the prevailing Covid situation, it has been decided by mutual agreement that the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom will not visit India next week. The two sides will be holding a virtual meeting in the coming days to launch plans for a transformed India-UK relationship. Both leaders attach the highest importance to taking the India-UK partnership to its fullest potential and propose to remain in close touch in this regard and look forward to an in-person meeting later in the year," said Arindam Bagchi, the official MEA Spokesperson in a response to media queries on Mr Johnson's visit.
Earlier this week, Johnson's office had announced that his visit to India will be shortened. It was originally organised to span three days and set to begin on April 26.
UK Prime Minister cannot meet with Prime Minister Narendra Modi online to discuss bilateral relations.
"The Government is telling people don't travel if you don't have to absolutely travel and I can't see why the Prime Minister can't conduct his business with the Indian government by Zoom. So many of us do that these days and I think the Prime Minister, all of us in public life, need to try and set an example so I'd much rather the Prime Minister did it by Zoom than by travelling to India," said Labour Party's Shadow Communities Secretary Steve Reed.
Boris Johnson's visit was earlier postponed from Republic Day to April.The visit was aimed at strengthening trade ties, investment and cooperation in various areas, including defence, security, health and climate change.