Amidst India witnessing a second wave of COVID-19 infection, Britain’s Labour Party has cautioned the country’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson against visiting New Delhi. Johnson is scheduled to hold talks with his Indian counterpart, Narendra Modi, on April 25. The meet which was announced earlier this month is expected to set a ‘Roadmap for 2030’ following a revitalized UK-India relationship.
According to a report by the Independent, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Steve Reed slammed the Conservative leader for not holding the meet virtually. “I can’t see why the prime minister can’t conduct his business via Zoom,” he told Parliament. Reed’s stance was further echoed by British actor David Schneider, who in a tweet, linked Johnson’s visit to the absence of India from red-listed countries. Sharing the news of Johnson’s visit to India, he tweeted, “If only there was some way of knowing why India isn't on the red list for travel despite cases rising to 200,000 a day and a dangerous new variant already in the UK and oh...”
However, country’s Environment Secretary George Eustice has defended the Prime Minister’s decision. Asked about Johnson’s visit to India, by presenter Sophie Ridge, he reckoned that public health “came first” first but that does not mean “there shouldn't be any visits for business purposes".
Since the beginning of the pandemic, India has reported over 14,788,003 cases and 177,150 fatalities. Apart from surging coronavirus caseload and the lawmakers have also raised concerns about a recent variant of the virus which was first identified in India. The mutant has already infected over 70 people across the British territory.
Boris Johnson trip to India is considered as a step to boost India-UK relations as the two sides are set to agree on a 'Roadmap 2030'. The 2030 vision is for revitalised and dynamically connections between people; re-energised trade, investment and technological collaboration; enhanced defence and security cooperation and closer engagement on regional issues - Including the Indian Ocean Region and the Indo-Pacific. The India-UK Partnership in Climate Action, clean energy and health care is geared for mutual benefit and a better world, it added.
(Image Credits: AP)