The UK’s Minister of State for South Asia, Lord Tariq Ahmad, began a four-day visit to India on Saturday with the goal of fostering ties in the fields of science, research, and innovation. The visit’s emphasis on science, technology, and innovation highlights the UK’s dedication to strengthening alliances in these fields around the world.

According to the Foreign Office, as part of its ongoing participation in the Indo-Pacific region as outlined in the Integrated Review, strengthening the UK-India partnership is a fundamental tenet of the UK’s long-term foreign policy.

In a statement before his arrival, Lord Ahmad stated that “the UK and India are trusted partners united by the special living bridge that closely connects our countries and people.”

We are strengthening our collaboration in research and technology, bringing fresh ideas to both of our countries, he said, adding that this is based on the 2030 Roadmap for India-UK future relations.

The visit takes place as India and the UK negotiate a Free Trade Agreement (FTA), which is anticipated to strengthen their current trade relationship and increase its value to GBP 36 billion by 2022. The tenth round of FTA negotiations is scheduled to start on June 5 in New Delhi.

As Minister for South Asia, Lord Ahmad’s travel to Rajasthan will be his first to Jodhpur, the city where his mother was born, and it will highlight the region’s rich cultural heritage. He will go to the renowned Mehrangarh Fort and speak with up-and-coming female leaders about gender equality, sustainability, and education.

Lord Ahmad will introduce the “English Skills for Youth” programme in New Delhi, which was created in collaboration with Microsoft India and the British Council to increase the career chances for young people in India, particularly women. The winners of the UK-India Health-Tech Boot Camp, which supports Indian health-tech ideas, will be announced by the minister.

The UK and India have a valuable collaboration, according to Christina Scott, the acting British High Commissioner to India. We are advancing and speeding up our cooperation in the areas of health, the environment, trade, education, science and technology, and defence as we implement the UK-India Roadmap 2030.

“With India serving as the G20’s presidency, there is a chance for the UK and India to collaborate on developing and implementing solutions to global problems.”

Lord Ahmad will visit the space launch vehicle businesses Skyroot, T-Hub, and T-Works, the world’s largest innovation campus’s technological start-up incubator and prototype centre, to highlight science and technology advancements before leaving Hyderabad.

He will also pay a visit to the National Institute of Animal Biotechnology, where he will speak with Indian Chevening alumni about future opportunities for scientific and technological cooperation.