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UK PM Boris Johnson expected to visit India towards month-end

  British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is planning a visit to India towards the end of this month with a focus on strengthening bilateral ties against the backdrop of the ongoing India-UK Free Trade Agreement negotiations, according to official sources. The visit, which is expected around April 22, is long overdue after Johnson was forced to cancel planned visits to India twice last year due to the Covid pandemic. While Downing Street is yet to confirm any details, an in-person meeting was discussed during a phone call between Johnson and Prime Minister Narendra Modi last month. “The leaders welcomed India and the UK's strong and prosperous relationship, and agreed to continue to build on trade, security and business ties in the coming weeks and months. They looked forward to meeting in-person at the earliest opportunity,” a Downing Street spokesperson said in a readout of the call on March 22. Last week, Downing Street sources told PTI that Johnson was “very keen” to visit India for talks with Modi, though firm plans are yet to be fully drawn up. The two leaders last met in-person on the sidelines of the COP26 Climate Summit in Glasgow in November last year, when their bilateral talks during the World Leaders' Summit focused on the India-UK climate partnership as well as a review of the 2030 Roadmap which they had signed during a virtual summit in May 2021. The Roadmap, which aims to at least double bilateral trade between India and the UK by 2030, is part of Britain's so-called Indo-Pacific foreign policy tilt.