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Ensure security of India's diplomatic missions, EAM Jaishankar tells UK minister

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Jaishankar said he also discussed a broad range of issues ranging from the Free Trade Agreement and South Asia to Indo-Pacific and G20 with the visiting minister. NEW DELHI: External Affairs Minister S Jaishanakr on Monday told visiting British Minister Lord Tariq Ahmad that Britain was obliged to ensure the security of India's diplomatic missions in the UK and prevent misuse of democratic freedoms. "Met with UK MOS Lord @tariqahmadbt today in New Delhi. Discussed a broad range of issues, from FTA and South Asia to Indo-Pacific and G20. Underlined the obligation to ensure security of our diplomatic missions and prevent misuse of democratic freedoms," Jaishankar said in a tweet after his meeting with Lord Ahmad. Jaishankar's assertions during a meeting with Lord Ahmad, the Minister of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, came against the backdrop of the vandalisation of the Indian High Commission in London by pro-Khalistan supporters on March 19.  In April, the Union Home Ministry had handed over the probe in the case of attack on the Indian mission in London to the National Investigation Agency after a meeting with representatives from Britain. Jaishankar said he also discussed a broad range of issues ranging from the Free Trade Agreement and South Asia to Indo-Pacific and G20 with the visiting minister. Meanwhile, Lord Ahmad said that India and UK share a long friendship and common values.  "Delighted to meet with my dear friend Dr Jaishankar in Delhi. We discussed the importance of strengthening of our long-standing bilateral relations and progressing the FTA," he tweeted. "Building on the 2030 Roadmap for India-UK future relations, we are deepening our collaboration on science, technology, bringing new innovations to both our nations," said Lord Ahmad. During the course of the day, Ahmad also met Foreign Secretary, Vinay Mohan Kwatra and G20 chief coordinator Harsh Vardhan Shringla amongst others. Ahmad will now head to Hyderabad after visiting Jodhpur and New Delhi as part of his ongoing tour of the nation. India and the UK have been negotiating an FTA since January last year, with a goal towards a comprehensive pact that is expected to significantly enhance the bilateral trading relationship worth an estimated GBP 34 billion in 2022. According to UK government statistics, India was the UK's 12th largest trading partner in the four quarters to the end of Q3 2022, accounting for 2.1 per cent of total UK trade. (With additional inputs from PTI) (THE NEW INDIAN EXPRESS)

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